Millions of people suffer from gum pain and ask ‘why do my gums hurt?’. This pain could arise when you brush or floss your teeth or when you eat something cold or very hot. In this article we have listed some common causes of why you may be experiencing sore gums with ways to prevent and treat your symptoms.
Common Causes Of Gum Pain
Do you find yourself asking the following questions:
- Why do my gums hurt in one spot?
- Why do my gums hurt when I brush my teeth?
- Why do my gums hurt when I floss?
- Why do my gums hurt when I eat?
Gum pain is an early sign of periodontal disease. Although the pain caused by gum disease may not be severe, it is a common problem that many people do not pay much attention to, therefore the cause can worsen. Improper brushing, flossing techniques, infections and various gum diseases can cause painful and sensitive gums.
Other causes that have nothing to do with oral hygiene are:
Your gum pain could be a sign of mouth ulcers, which are painful, non-contagious ulcers that occur on the gums or other areas in the mouth. If not treated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss and further infections. These diseases can often be prevented with proper oral hygiene. Mouth ulcers tend to disappear within about 14 days. If mouth ulcers last longer than 2 weeks, you should consult your dentist.
Other common causes listed below can answer your questions of ‘Why do my gums hurt in one spot?’ or ‘Why do my gums hurt when I brush my teeth?’:
Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Periodontitis
Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease that can have serious consequences such as possible tooth loss and other health problems. If your gums are red, swollen or bleeding, you are likely to have gum disease or periodontitis. If left untreated, this can lead to more serious health concerns.
Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Nutrition
A healthy, balanced diet can help prevent gum pain and gum disease. A diet high in vitamin C and calcium can minimise the risk of gum problems. Avoid sugar and sticky food that get stuck in your teeth and cause tooth decay, as this can also lead to gum issues.
Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Allergies
Your sore gums may be an allergic reaction to a food or dental hygiene product. An elimination diet can help you identify the food allergy that is damaging your gums. Try a diet where certain foods are not eaten for 30 days and then reintroduced to see what happens. The quickest way to determine whether a food or other substance triggers the reaction is to meet with an allergist. An allergist can help you determine the cause of your reaction and recommend other treatments.
Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Tobacco
Smoking tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigars can damage the gums. The use of smokeless tobacco, such as chewing tobacco or snuff (ground tobacco leaves), can do even more harm. Tobacco use and the associated gum disease can increase the risk of gum inflammation. To improve your gum health, stop using tobacco products. Your local health provider can help you quit.
Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Stress
Stress increases cortisol levels in the body, increasing the likelihood of inflammation in the body, including your gums. Try to reduce stress as much as possible.
Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Oral Hygiene
Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine is the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy and can help prevent gum diseases. Brush your teeth after meals, and at least twice a day, in the morning and evening. Use a toothpaste containing fluoride, a dental floss and an antibacterial mouthwash. Visit your dentist every 6 months for a check up and cleaning.
Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Hormonal Changes
Many women have changes in hormones that affect their gums at different times in their lives, including puberty. The influx of hormones during puberty can increase blood flow to the gums, leading to swelling and sensitivity. During menstruation, the female gums swell and are more likely to bleed. This swelling subsides when menstruation ends. Gum pain or bleeding may also occur in some women at the beginning of the second or third month of pregnancy and up to the eighth month.
If you notice gum pain related to one of these hormonal changes, your dentist will review your situation and recommend treatment. Menopausal women may find that their gums feel dry, leading to pain and bleeding.
Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Abscesses
An infection in the tooth roots can form a Periodontal abscess. This can lead to painful, swollen gums. If your dentist diagnoses an abscess, they will recommend further treatment.
Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Dentures
Dentures or partial dentures that do not fit properly can irritate the gums. This can lead to tissue damage and gum disease. A root canal procedure may also be required. You can work with your dentist to partially or otherwise adjust the fit of your dentures to eliminate gum pain.
Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Vitamin Deficiency
Good oral health is supported by proper nutrition including sufficient vitamin B and vitamin C. Vitamin deficiency can lead to a number of diseases such as scurvy, which can cause swollen and painful gums and other symptoms. A healthy, balanced diet that meets the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals can treat vitamin deficiency.
Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Oral Cancer
Oral cancer occurs when wounds refuse to heal and can occur in the gums, the inner cheeks, the tongue or the tonsils. It can feel like a lump or mouth ulcer. If you have wounds in your mouth that do not heal within two weeks, go to the dentist immediately after diagnosis. Cancer treatment includes surgery to remove cancer cells or tumours, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Treatments & Remedies For Sore Gums
There are a few treatments and remedies you can try to relieve gum pain. However, if your pain does not go away and worsens then you must visit your dentist to find the main cause.
Hot or cold compress: Hot or cold compresses can help reduce swelling and relieve pain in the gums. To make a hot compress for the gums, dip a clean cloth in hot (but not boiling) water. Press the cloth on the area between the cheek and lip to cover the most painful part of the gums. Make a cold compress by using an ice pack wrapped in a cleaning cloth.
Salt water rinse: Salt water rinsing and gargling with salt water can reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the gums. This can help reduce swelling, which can cause pain. To rinse salt water, mix half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water, take a sip but do not swallow, swirl the solution around in your mouth for a few minutes, gargle, spit and repeat if necessary.
Teas: Many teas contain plant substances called tannins. Green, hibiscus and black teas all contain significant amounts of tannin. According to research, these compounds can relieve gum pain and kill the bacteria that irritate the gums. These substances can cause a sensitive sensation in the mouth when drinking strong tea. Some teas contain ingredients that reduce inflammation, including ginger and chamomile. You can even place a cooled teabag directly on your gums.
Herbal Remedies: People have been using herbs for centuries for their pain-relieving properties. You can make a paste from turmeric and water to relieve gum pain. To make a herbal paste, mix powdered turmeric or cloves with a small amount of warm water and apply directly to the gums. Cloves and turmeric (from the plant genus spilanthe) are used in ayurvedic medicine, however using turmeric often may cause tooth staining.
Essential Oils: Several pharmaceutical products contain essential oils because of the diverse health benefits they offer. You can buy essential oils to produce your own home remedies. Cloves, oregano and peppermint oil all have properties that can help reduce inflammation, relieve pain and improve circulation.
You can make a spray with essential oils and water and use it to relieve gum pain. To make the spray, add 4 to 5 drops of essential oils to 1 ounce of water in a clean spray bottle. Spray the mixture onto the site of the gingival pain.
Medications: Benzocaine is the main ingredient in common oral gels such as Orajel and Anbesol. It is important to follow the instructions on the label before using an oral gel to treat gum pain.
A person can relieve mild to moderate gum pain at home. Over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil) can help ease tooth and mouth discomfort. The best results are achieved by combining an over-the-counter painkiller with a home remedy, such as gargling with a saltwater solution. The person should talk to their dentist if gum pain is persistent or severe.
It is important to pay attention to warning signs that may indicate a serious underlying health problem. Symptoms that need medical attention include persistent pain, severe pain, swelling and a fever.