From cavities, to damage, to having something stuck between your teeth, there are plenty of issues that can cause dental pain. But what about painful gums? Unfortunately, there are just as many factors that can cause your gum tissue to feel sore or sensitive, ranging from simple to severe in nature. Healthy gums are the foundation of a beautiful smile and play a key role in keeping your pearly whites safely in place, so it’s essential to take care of them. Here are seven reasons why your gums may be hurting and what you can do to restore your oral health.
1.) Aggressive Brushing or Flossing
If you’re brushing or flossing with too much force, you may be doing more harm than good. Aggressively cleaning your teeth can irritate and even damage your gum tissue. Make sure you’re cleaning your mouth carefully, and only use soft-bristled toothbrushes approved by the American Dental Association.
2.) Canker Sores
Researchers aren’t exactly sure what causes canker sores, but they’re thought to be the result of an infection. These painful, noncontagious mouth ulcers can appear anywhere in the mouth, including the gums. Typically, canker sores will clear up on their own as long as you practice great oral hygiene.
3.) Hormonal Changes
Many women experience sore, swollen, and easily bleeding gums because of natural hormone changes during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause. If your gum pain is associated with a change in hormones, you should talk to your dentist for the treatment that’s right for you.
4.) Tobacco Products
Chewing or smoking tobacco products can damage your gums and reduce your body’s ability to heal, leaving your gums susceptible to infection. To improve your gum health, lower your risk of cancer, and protect your smile, you should stop using tobacco products.
5.) Gum Disease
Gum disease is a common bacterial infection in the gums that’s typically the result of poor oral hygiene. While it may initially only cause red, swollen, and bleeding gums, gum disease can eventually cause jawbone damage, tooth loss, and systemic health concerns. Thankfully, the earliest stages of gum disease can be reversed with periodontal therapy, so talk to your dentist about your gum disease symptoms right away.
6.) Dental Abscess
An infection around the root of a tooth can form a dental abscess, which can cause gum pain and sensitivity. A toothache or small, pimple-like bump on the gums are tell-tale signs of a dental abscess. If your dentist diagnoses a dental abscess, they’ll often recommend antibiotics or root canal therapy.
7.) Oral Cancer
Oral cancer can develop on your gums, inner cheek, lips, tongue, or your tonsils. It will often take the form of a sore that refuses to heal, so see your dentist right away if you have any long-lasting irritation on your gum tissue. Thankfully, the earlier oral cancer is caught, the easier it is to treat.
You can prevent many of the issues that cause gum pain with healthy lifestyle choices and excellent oral hygiene. However, if you notice tenderness, sensitivity, inflammation, or bleeding in your gums, don’t hesitate to see your dentist for a full diagnosis and a treatment recommendation.
About the Author
Dr. Dennis E. Stansbury has been helping the smiles of Tyler, TX and the surrounding communities stay happy and healthy for over 44 years. As an active member of several prestigious organizations such as the American Dental Association and the Smith County Dental Society, he is passionate about staying current with the latest dental technologies and techniques. He is proud to offer several comfortable and effective treatments that are designed to prevent and treat gum disease. If you’re concerned about your painful gums, don’t hesitate to contact him via his website or at (903) 561-1122.