Gum Pain: What It Can Mean

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gum pain what it can mean

Are you dealing with gum pain? We all know it is not a fun thing to experience. It can be uncomfortable and make tasks such as eating or brushing difficult.

Pain, swelling, and even bleeding can result from several factors. How do you know if it is something minor or serious?

Our team at Vellore Woods Dentistry is going to cover everything you need to know about gum pain. We will go over some common causes and treatments, and advise you on when you need to see your dentist.

Why Your Gums Are Important

Your gums consist of soft, fleshy tissue. You might not realize how important they actually are. They are responsible for protecting and supporting the teeth.

If you are experiencing pain, it could mean something is wrong. When your gums are in poor shape, it means they are not able to properly protect your teeth. Unhealthy gums can also cause several other issues, which we will cover later in this article.

Potential Causes of Gum Pain

So what might your gum pain be stemming from? Without seeing a professional, it can be hard to pinpoint an exact answer. There are several reasons this could be happening, some of which include:

Rough Brushing and Flossing

It is important to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing twice and flossing once a day.

However, it is possible for you to be too aggressive. If you are brushing or flossing too hard, you can cause irritation or damage. This especially might be the case if you are using a stiff, hard-bristled toothbrush.

If this is the case, switch to a toothbrush with soft bristles. Make sure you implement the proper technique:

  • Brush twice a day for two minutes each session. Use a small circular motion and be liberal with the amount of pressure you apply. It should be as if you were polishing a diamond.
  • Floss once a day, being careful to not snap the string against your gums. Also, refrain from using a sawing motion.  If you are struggling to use the proper technique, ask your dentist for advice. They can demonstrate a healthy routine for you to implement at home.

Canker Sores

Also known as mouth ulcers, canker sores can appear anywhere in the mouth. They are painful, noncontagious, and usually have either a red or white coating.

It is unknown what exactly causes canker sores. Some say they are the result of bacterial or viral infections. Those with autoimmune diseases are more likely to get mouth sores.

There is no specific method for treating canker sores. They usually go away on their own after two weeks. If a canker sore lasts for more than three weeks, see your dentist.


Burned your mouth when eating hot food? We’ve all done it.

The burns can lead to discomfort. They can be made worse by continuing to eat hot foods or aggressively brushing.

Allergic Reaction

You might be allergic to an oral hygiene product such as toothpaste or mouthwash. Certain ingredients can cause irritation.

If you have just started using a new product, you might have found the perpetrator. Eliminate the use of the product and replace it with one your body can handle.

Gum Disease

Are your gums swollen? Red? Bleeding? This could be a sign of something more serious.

Gum disease occurs when you do not brush and floss enough. In its early form (gingivitis), it can be reversed with proper oral hygiene. The more serious form (periodontitis) is harder to manage.

When Should You See a Dentist for Gum Pain?

If you are experiencing gum pain, you don’t necessarily need to rush to the dentist. There are instances where the pain will go away on its own or with home remedies.

Are your symptoms severe? Is it difficult to go about your normal routine because of the pain? If this is the case, it might be time to make an appointment. You should also see your dentist if your symptoms are ongoing. Some things you should be wary of include:

  • Redness, swelling, or bleeding
  • Gums pulling back from your teeth
  • Pain when you chew
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • Dentures that don’t fit correctly
  • Loose teeth

How to Relieve Gum Pain at Home

As previously mentioned, not all cases require a trip to the dentist. You can try some of the DIY remedies mentioned above. Also, consider:

  • Rinsing your mouth out with warm saltwater
  • Taking over-the-counter painkillers
  • Applying gels meant for sore gums

Who Experiences Gum Pain?

Gum pain does not discriminate. Anyone of any age can experience it.

However, it is important to keep in mind that some are at higher risk than others. Knowing if you are more prone to it can help you take the necessary preventative steps.

Several factors can put one at a higher risk. Some of the most prominent include:

  • If you smoke. Smoking causes tartar to build up on the teeth, making a smoker more likely to experience gum pain.
  • If you are male. Men are at a higher risk than women. Some studies suggest this on the premise that women tend to take better care of their teeth.
  • If you are older. The older we get, the harder our bodies have to work to take care of us. It is no different when it comes to our oral health.
  • Poor hygiene. Not brushing and flossing regularly leaves your gums in a weaker state. This also applies to those who do not get regular professional cleanings.
  • Poor diet. Excessive sugar consumption can increase plaque production.

Take Preventative Measures

The best way to handle gum pain is to prevent it in the first place. Take good care of your oral health by flossing and brushing regularly. Perhaps most importantly, don’t put off going to the dentist. Regular checkups will ensure problems are detected before they become serious.