Common causes of swollen gums, which typically start at the area where the gum and tooth meet, include gingivitis, pregnancy and malnutrition, according to Healthline. Fungal and viral infections can also lead to swollen gums.
Most cases of swollen gums result from gingivitis, a gum disease that leads to irritation and swelling of the gums, notes Healthline. Poor oral hygiene is a common cause of gingivitis, as it leads to the accumulation of plaque on the teeth and gum line. Plaque contains bacteria and bits of food stuck on the teeth, and it turns into tartar if it stays on the teeth for several days. Tougher than plaque, tartar can build up on the teeth and cause gingivitis.
Pregnant women also tend to experience swollen gums due to the increase of blood flow in the gums that results from the surge of hormones during pregnancy, explains Healthline. Hormonal changes during pregnancy also make women vulnerable to gum infections, thus increasing their risk of developing gingivitis.
Malnutrition sometimes causes swollen gums due to vitamin deficiency, particularly in B and C vitamins, says Healthline. In some cases, gum swelling occurs in people with thrush, which results from the overgrowth of mouth yeast. Anyone who experiences gum swelling that persists for more than two weeks should consult a dentist to determine the cause.