Most people experience sore gums at some point in their lives. But just because it’s common doesn’t mean it should go ignored. Your sore gums may be trying to tell you something. No need to panic. There are a number of possible reasons your gums hurt, and they’re not all scary. Although it can be a sign of a complex issue with your oral health, in many cases, gum pain can be relieved by making a simple change to your routine.
Here are 10 possible reasons your gums hurt:
1. Hard toothbrush bristles
Brushing with a hard-bristled brush can damage the gum tissue and wear away tooth enamel, resulting in gum pain and tooth sensitivity. A toothbrush with soft, nylon bristles is sufficient for cleaning the teeth and protecting the gums.
2. Overly vigorous brushing
While it may seem like vigorous brushing is the best way to get your teeth clean, it does far more harm than good. Instead of pressing down hard and brushing back and forth, apply just enough pressure to feel the bristles against the teeth and gums, and brush in a gentle, circular motion. Gentle brushing gets the job done, as long as you’re consistent and thorough.
3. Gum disease
Painful gums are often linked to gum disease. Poor oral hygiene causes bacteria to form plaque on the teeth, and as it accumulates under the gums, they become inflamed and sore. If left untreated, gum disease destroys the tissue around the teeth, causing tooth loss and other dental issues. One reason it’s important to visit your dentist at least twice a year is to catch gum disease in its early stages and reverse it before it can do damage.
4. Canker sore
When gum pain is localized, it may be the result of a canker sore, a small open wound in the mouth. Canker sores can be caused by tissue injury from a toothbrush slip, the sharp edge of a corn chip or other hard food, or an allergy to something in your food or toothpaste. Certain acidic foods or underlying health conditions can also cause canker sores. Normally, they go away on their own in a few days, though certain health conditions may cause them to last longer. If you have a canker sore that won’t go away, see a doctor or dentist right away, as it could be a sign of oral cancer.
5. Periodontal abscess
Another possible cause of localized gum pain is an abscess, which is a pocket of pus caused by a bacterial infection. Abscesses can form on the gums or in the area around a tooth. They result in gum pain and tooth sensitivity, and may be accompanied by fever or a bad taste in the mouth. If you have a periodontal abscess, it’s important to visit your periodontist right away.
6. Hormonal changes
The hormonal changes women experience during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can result in red, swollen, or painful gums. Stay in touch with your dentist to maintain your oral health and discuss possible home remedies for relief.
Swollen gums are common when braces are new, and then again whenever they’re tightened. The presence of the metal brackets and pressure from eating certain foods can also irritate the gums, causing them to swell and become sore. Additionally, braces can make it difficult to properly brush away all the plaque, putting the individual at risk of gum disease. Be sure to alert your dentist and orthodontist if your gums remain sore.
8. Poor-Fitting dentures
It is expected to have some soreness for a few days after receiving your dentures. But when the pain lasts, it could be a sign that they don’t fit properly. If your gums remain sore, your dentures may need to be adjusted.
9. Smoking or tobacco chewing
Smoking and tobacco chewing put the individual at risk for a number of health problems, including gum disease, weakened immune system, oral cancer, and other factors that can result in painful, swollen, and infected gums.
10. Poor diet
Diet plays a significant role in gum health as well. Poor eating habits and overly restrictive diets result in a lack of necessary nutrients for keeping the body healthy. Because teeth and gums are living parts of the body, they suffer when nutritional needs are not met. Talk to your dentist about the best foods for your oral health.
Struggling with sore gums? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Kwok today.
If you’re experiencing gum pain that won’t go away even after you switch to a softer toothbrush or change to more gentle brushing habits, it’s probably time to visit a periodontist. At San Diego Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, Dr. Kwok is dedicated to helping each of his patients optimize their oral health. When you come in for your consultation, he’ll thoroughly evaluate the condition of your gums, discuss your symptoms and concerns, and provide you with the best treatment options to relieve your pain and keep you healthy.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (619) 543-0905 today.