Puffy Cheeks Causes, Symptoms & Reducing Puffiness


If you have puffy cheeks, they could be due to allergic reactions, alcohol, bulimia, wisdom tooth problem, trauma, sinus infection, among other causes. Uncover more including most of the causes and how to get rid or reduce the puffiness (remedies, treatments, and cures).


They refer to swollen, inflated or distended and tender cheeks which could be as a result a number of causes. This puffiness could be on one side (left or right) or on both, on your lower or upper (under eyes) or near your ears, with varying magnitude i.e. you could have them so puffy or slight puffy.

It is not only your cheeks that can be puffy but also your face, eyes, tongue, mouth and other body parts. This problem can affect children (infants, toddler or babies) and adults.

Most people complain or have this problem in the morning when you wake up, but this problem can also arise at night or throughout until you treat it (i.e. you could have puffy cheeks always).


Some of the common symptoms include a toothache (when caused by tooth problem), redness, rash, tenderness, soreness, lumps, itchiness, fever, sneezing, and numbness, among others. The symptoms you have will largely depend on what causes your puffiness and they could be helpful in diagnosis.

Why the puffiness - causes 

Knowing the correct cause is important in treating or reducing puffiness. There are many diseases, conditions or disorders cause this issue. Some of the common causes include:

1. Wisdom teeth or toothache

Dental problems such as tooth decay, dental abscess, and impacted wisdom teeth can lead to puffy or swollen cheek and toothache. Furthermore, tooth extraction, root canal or tooth filling can cause temporary swelling.

To get rid of or reduce it when it is from wisdom teeth or do away with this problem quickly, you need to consider tooth extraction, root canal, treating any infection and trying home remedies such as sucking ice cubes, swishing salty water, among other remedies. Some of these remedies are effective and they might reduce puffiness overnight.

2. Blunt trauma and surgical procedures

Injuries or trauma can cause it. Being punched, rhinoplasty, cheek piercing as well as oral surgeries can lead to bruising, puffiness, redness, pain or even mild bleeding. Such will last for a few days and can be soothed by anti-inflammatory medications as well as remedies we will discuss later.

3. Sinus

Sinusitis is the swelling and inflammation of sinuses lining caused by bacterial, viral or fungal infection. When they suffer from maxillary sinusitis, it is common for “patient feels pain or pressure in the cheek (maxillary) area” [medicalnewstoday.com] and this can lead to puffiness over maxillaries.

To know it is caused by sinusitis, you are bound to have other sinusitis symptoms such as facial pressure and pain, congestion, cough, blocked nose, halitosis, toothache, fever, loss of the sense to smell, among others.

4. Alcohol

Alcohol consumption is a known cause not only this problem but also swollen face. When you consume alcohol, it makes your body dehydrated and the body responds by storing more water including on your face and cheeks and thus you get puffiness including on face and other body parts.

5. Allergies

Allergic reactions to food, pet dander, mite dust, medication, insect stings, pollen, latex and other allergen is known to cause not just a puffy face but also cheek and eye puffiness. To avoid cases due to allergic reactions, you need to consider over the counter antihistamine, prescription strength antihistamines and avoid contact with allergens.

6. During pregnancy

During pregnancy, especially during the third trimester, some women tend to suffer from puffy or swollen cheeks and/or face, ankles, feet, etc. This could be attributed to many reasons among them the production of more fluids and blood required for child growth and development.

Bulimia or chipmunk cheeks

Bulimia is “a psychological eating disorder that is characterized by episodes of binge eating (consuming a large quantity of food in one sitting) followed by inappropriate methods of weight control, such as vomiting, fasting, enemas, excessive use of laxatives and diuretics, or compulsive exercising” [webmd.com].

Bulimia is known to cause gastric reflux (that will erode your teeth), swollen salivary glands and puffy or swollen cheeks. Bulimia cure will involve behavioral change therapies, stress management as well as the use of antidepressants. For bulimia puffiness go away completely, you need to be patient since it can take up to 3 months once you beat bulimia.

Other causes

  • Playing musical instruments - Playing musical instruments such as trumpet can lead to this problem. One case worthwhile mentioning is Dizzy Gillespie, often referred to puffiness that a trumpet player gets. Many trumpet players have also reported mild cases each time they played the trumpet for a long time.
  • Mumps
  • Swollen salivary glands
  • Swollen lymph nodes around this area
  • Angioedema
  • Severe malnutrition
  • Stye especially for if under eyes.
  • Obesity and face fat
  • Dehydration

These are some of the common causes. There could many other causes. It is advisable to seek medical help in case you do not know what could be causing your case.

On cheekbones or under eyes

Sometimes, it might be located on your cheekbones especially puffy upper ones (under eye) which could be red, at times. This can be caused by a number of things that include stress, injuries, sinusitis, among other causes.

Furthermore, puffiness of cheeks under eyes (or on cheekbones) can be due to malar bags or edema, smoking, allergic reactions or by inheritable factors (genetics). To treat or get rid of the one under eyes try laser treatment, under skin cauterization, among other treatments.


Redness and puffiness are common in toddlers (children) as well as adults. It is commonly caused by allergic reaction, a rash, malar edema, being hit by blunt objects or trauma, etc. In toddlers, the problem has been associated with teething.

How to get rid or reduce it

How do you get rid of this problem or how do you reduce it? The best and most advisable way is to deal with this problem is treating the underlying cause. This means getting the right diagnosis before you begin treatments, cures or any of the many home remedies.

For instance, how you will treat one from bulimia might be different from one caused allergy or wisdom tooth. Some of the popular ways to slim down it includes:

  • Head elevation using pillows during your sleep if you often have puffiness in the morning.
  • Applying cold compresses using ice packs or ice wrapped in a clean piece of cloth or towel to constrict vessels and soothe any pain (numbing effect).
  • Applying teabags on the affected area since caffeine in tea will cause constriction of blood vessels on the surface of your cheek and thus reduce it. It will also help reduce inflammation.
  • Use of cold cucumber slices on the affected area that reduces swelling and soothes them.
  • Regular moderate aerobic exercise can help flush out any fluid accumulation these areas including your face, burn stored fats and cause general weight loss.
  • Ensure you eat a balanced diet (with complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, and vitamins) with less simple carbohydrates (especially soft drinks, baked goods, candy, white flour, etc. since they increase water retention.).Furthermore, eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon, flaxseed or walnut) since they can help reduce cheek redness and puffiness as well as an irritated skin, according to “Reader’s Digest” magazine.
  • Reduce salt consumption, limiting it to 2300 mg per day or slightly above 1 and 1/8 of a teaspoon a day. The ideal amount of salt should be ¾ of a teaspoon as per FDA recommendations.
  • Use antibiotics, antivirals and antifungal medications if the problem is caused by any of those germs respectively. Anti-inflammatory will be handy in relieving inflammation and pain while antihistamines would be for allergy caused.

These are some of the easy home remedies to help you lose the puffiness. It is time to look at ways to gain it on your cheeks or get cheek that are puffy for those who want them.

How to get puffy cheeks

If you would get puffy cheeks, there are many ways to go about it that include face or cheek exercise, pinching them, face yoga, moisturizing them, scrubbing them with sugar and shea butter scrub, eating apples, applying aloe vera, cosmetic surgeries, injections, among others. 

References and sources

  • http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/bulimia-nervosa/mental-health-bulimia-nervosa