The root cause of gum swelling generally results from poor oral health, which is not necessarily due to poor dental hygiene. People with good dental hygiene can have poor oral health if they have poor nutrition. When your body does not receive all its required vitamins and minerals, a myriad of diseases occur – from cognitive disorders to dental disease.
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There are many causes of swollen gums including malnutrition. Tissues generally swell when they encounter infections. To prevent infections, your body has protective barriers – the skin, hairs, saliva, tears, stomach acid, wax and coughing. For infections to occur, the bacteria must pass through the barriers first, such as through an opening of the skin. When bacteria passed through the barrier, inflammation – redness and swelling – takes place. To keep your skin and other protective barriers healthy and normal, your body must have the adequate nutrients. Other causes of swelling include injuries and poor circulation. Injuries dilate blood vessels and cause fluid to accumulate in the injured area. Poor circulation contributes to gum swelling by leaving gums vulnerable to infections. Vitamins with antioxidant properties help keep your cells healthy by interacting with free radicals, which are reactive molecules, preventing them from attacking your DNA, lipids and proteins. Antioxidants, thus, play a vital role in preventing or fighting infections.
Vitamin C, commonly produced in fruits and vegetables, and a high content in citrus fruits, is essential to the health of your skin. Tissues throughout your body need vitamin C for growth and repair; without vitamin C, they become susceptible to infection. The synthesis of collagen depends on vitamin C. This antioxidant also helps strengthen blood vessel walls and your immune system. Because vitamin C is water-soluble, your body cannot produce nor store vitamin C, you must continuously attain it from your diet. A deficiency in vitamin C can cause your gums to swell and bleed.
Lack of folic acid, a water-soluble vitamin, can cause the gums to swell as it can increase your risk of gum disease, especially gingivitis – inflammation of the gums. Your body needs folic acid for the production of red blood cells, protein synthesis, tissue growth and normal cellular function. Folic acid also helps support blood flow by improving blood vessels dilation. In the July 2006 issue of “Pediatrics,” Dr. Karen MacKenzie and colleagues reported that the treatment of high-dose folate helped normalize the function of endothelial tissues -- specialized cells lining the surface of blood vessels -- within 2 hours in participants with type 1 diabetes. Endothelial tissues play a crucial role in the dilation and constriction of blood vessels. You can get folic acid from green leafy vegetables, seeds and enriched bread, cereal and pasta.
Riboflavin, an antioxidant and a water-soluble vitamin, is essential for the health of your skin, hair, eyes and liver. It participates in red blood cell synthesis and helps strengthen your immune system. Your body needs riboflavin to convert folic acid into its active form. Folic acid that stays inactive cannot trigger biochemical reactions. Rich sources of riboflavin include milk, yogurt, cheese, meat, green leafy vegetables and enriched bread and cereals.
- MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia; Gum -- Swollen; Feb. 22, 2010
- MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia; Vitamin C; Dec. 12, 2009
- MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia; Folic Acid in Diet; Nov. 6, 2009
- Life Extension Health Concern: Gingivitis -- Gum Diseases, Plaque, Gums
- "Pediatrics"; Folate and Vitamin B6 Rapidly Normalize Endothelial Dysfunction in Children with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus; Karen MacKenzie, M.B.Ch.B, F.R.A.C.P., et al.; July 2006
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Vitamin B2 -- Riboflavin; Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD; Dec. 1, 2009