The health of your gums is an important part of your overall dental health. Normal gums are firm, pink, and don’t bleed easily. If you have gum pain, swelling, or frequent bleeding around your gums, you may have an underlying dental condition that needs treatment.
There are multiple causes behind gum pain, and some of them are more serious than others. Here, we list the ten most common possible causes.
Ten Possible Causes Behind Gum Pain
- Gum disease. Minor gum disease, also called gingivitis, can cause gum redness and swelling, along with bad breath. Some people also experience gum pain, although pain may not be present in the early stages. But if gingivitis is left untreated it can advance to severe gum disease, called periodontitis. Periodontitis causes your gums to pull away from your teeth, resulting in abscesses, bone, and tooth loss. You may also experience pain with severe gum disease.
- Hormone fluctuations. Hormonal changes during puberty, the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause can cause gum pain, swelling, and bleeding.
- Canker sores. Canker sores are harmless lesions that can develop anywhere in your mouth, including your gums. Most canker sores are red, and some have a white coating. If you have a large sore, it can be painful, but the lesions usually heal on their own within two weeks.
- Tobacco use. Smoking tobacco or using smokeless tobacco products can lead to gum irritation and gum disease. If you use smokeless tobacco held between your teeth and cheek, you can experience gum irritation and recession.
- Tooth abscess. Gum disease and infected tooth roots can cause abscesses to develop. Abscesses are infected pockets filled with pus under and around your gums. In addition to pain, abscesses can also cause gum swelling.
- Oral cancer. Cancer can cause lesions or sores to form on your gums. Sometimes these lesions are painful, but many of them aren’t.
- Aggressive brushing. Rough brushing, or brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush, can lead to gum irritation, bleeding, and gum recession. Snapping floss against your gums can also cause pain and bleeding.
- Poorly fitting hardware. Ill-fitting dentures or partials, or braces, bridges, and other dental hardware with sharp edges can rub against your gums and cause pain, sores, bleeding, and irritation.
- Minor injuries. Sharp foods, sharp edges on dental hardware, and your own teeth may cause minor scrapes and cuts to your gums. You can also burn them on hot foods or drinks. And accidentally biting down on your gums is very painful.
- Nutrient deficiencies. Malnutrition and deficiencies in essential nutrients like Vitamin C and Vitamin K can cause gum pain.
Remedies for Gum Pain
At home, there are several remedies you can use to soothe sore gums.
- Saltwater rinses
- Over-the-counter pain medications
- Mouthwashes with hydrogen peroxide
- Over-the-counter gels applied directly to gums
- A soft or extra-soft bristled toothbrush
If your gums are sore, you should avoid eating citrus, spicy foods, and sharp foods, which can cause further irritation and pain.
When to Call Boyett Family Dentistry
Contact Boyett Family Dentistry if you have gum pain that isn’t resolved by home remedies, lesions or sores that don’t heal after two weeks, or redness, swelling, and bleeding for longer than a week. You should also make a dental appointment if your gum pain is accompanied by bad breath, sensitive teeth, loose teeth, pain while chewing, or gums that are pulling away from teeth.
Many problems that cause gum pain can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, and eat a nutritious diet with limited processed foods and added sugars. You should also see your dentist every six months for a professional cleaning and exam.
If it’s time for your next dental exam and cleaning, contact Boyett Family Dentistry today to schedule your appointment.