Hamilton Dental Group

Gum Pain

Gum pain. Yes, you can have pain in your gums and not your actual teeth. But what does this mean? Often when your tooth hurts it is caused by dental decay. Does this mean that my gums have decay? There are many different causes of gum pain or soreness, such as improper dental cleaning, tobacco usage, chemotherapy, hormonal changes, or gum disease (also known as periodontal disease). Luckily, most causes of gum pain are easily treatable with the help and guidance of your general dentist. If you are having consistent gum pain, make sure you call and get an appointment as soon as possible to stop the cause from getting any worse.

Common causes of gum pain includes:

  • Rough brushing or flossing: While your dentist will be glad that you are diligently cleaning your teeth, he or she will not be happy to hear that you are brushing too hard! Aggressive flossing, brushing too hard or with a brush with stiff, hard bristles can irritate and sometimes even damage your gums.
  • Cuts or abrasions on the gums: Gum pain can sometimes be the work of a cut or a sore located on the gum. These are often caused by getting a scratch from a hard item that was being eaten (such as a chip) or from dental appliances such as braces, retainers, or dentures.
  • Tobacco usage: Using tobacco products – especially smokeless tobacco such as chew or snuff – has been linked to an increase in gum disease and in some cases, oral cancer. Tobacco usage affects the normal functions of your gums. This causes the gums to loosen up around teeth, allowing bacteria and debris down under the gums. This can lead to infections. Smokers have also been shown to be 3-6 times more likely than non-smokers to have gum disease.
  • Hormonal changes: Changes within your hormones can cause pain in your gums. More often seen in women than men, these changes can be caused by puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
  • Abscessed tooth/teeth: An abscessed tooth is a tooth with an infection down at the root. This can result in a painful spot on your gum, along with a bump at the gum (often resembles a pimple). While a dose of antibiotic is usually given to help fight the infection, these teeth typically need a root canal to resolve the problem.

Nobody wants to have painful gums. Here are some home remedies to try and prevent getting gum pain in the first place:

  • Make sure to brush twice a day and floss once a day. Keeping your teeth clean is always the first step to preventing any dental or gum pain.
  • Switch to an electric toothbrush such as the Sonicare or Oral-B. These electric toothbrushes typically clean away more plaque and debris than a manual toothbrush. They also monitor how hard you are brushing to help you be softer on your teeth and gums.
  • And most importantly, see your dentist! While it is very important to keep up with your six-month dental cleanings and exams, it is also important to get into the dentist if you are having problems. Treating something is easier (and typically less expensive) early on after you have started experiencing pain.

Gum pain can be caused by many things, such as:

  • Toothbrush trauma
  • Food trauma (e.g. spicy food, hot food, or jagged food fragment)
  • Mouth ulcer (of various types)
  • Gum Disease
  • Herpes Simplex
  • Abscess
  • Tooth erupting
  • Impacted tooth
  • Cyst
  • Oral cancer
  • Various other conditions

If gum pain persists, it is important to Contact Us for an appointment to determine the cause and begin treatment, if needed.

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