Gum Pain: Causes and At-Home Treatments
Many of us have had the misfortune of experiencing mouth pain at some point, usually in the form of tooth pain or even tongue pain, but somewhat rarer is gum pain. When you have it, you will surely know it. The best thing you can do is try to avoid gum pain altogether with a good mouth cleaning routine that includes floss and rinse, but sometimes that isn’t necessarily possible.
If you’re experiencing gum pain, it’s just a bit too late to prevent it, but thankfully, there are some at-home treatments you can use to alleviate it, even if you may need to eventually seek professional treatment.
How To Treat Gum Pain at Home
We believe everyone deserves a bright, beautiful, healthy smile, and we’re here to help. Luckily, there are some really simple remedies for gum pain, even if it is a problem that you should probably have treated by a dentist at some point.
Some of the simplest, but most effective ways to treat (not cure) gum pain include:
- Use warm salt water to rinse out your mouth
- Only use a toothbrush that has soft bristles
- Use over the counter painkillers
- Use a mouthwash regularly to eliminate bacteria build up in the pockets
- Get a gel that you can apply directly to your gums
- Use a hot compress
- Avoid eating foods that are spicy, salty, or too acidic
These are pretty easy ways to relieve mild gum pain. However, if it gets to be too much to handle, then you need to see a dentist quick to get to the root of the issue.
Gum Disease is the Leading Cause of Gum Pain
This may not be a shocking revelation to you, but many people have low levels of gum disease that causes gum pain. Some of the first signs of gum pain will be redness, swelling, and bleeding. You may spot it for the first time when you brush or floss your teeth. If you get random bleeds, then the gum disease may be worsening.
When gum disease gets bad enough, it will eventually cause your teeth to pull away. Eventually, pockets will form along the gum line which cause further problems.
Why is this a critical issue, you ask? This can wreak havoc on your beautiful smile because food can get stuck in those pockets, causing swelling and painful infection.
When gum disease gets bad enough, your teeth will loosen and the bones that hold them in place will start to break down, making it easier to knock out teeth or for teeth to fall out (which let’s be honest, no one wants!).
Tobacco Use Can Lead To Gum Pain as Well
Historically, tobacco usage is one of the biggest causes of gum pain and oral cancer, which can also cause gum pain. Any smokeless products, like snuff, dip, or chewing tobacco can lead to gum disease. The longer that you allow it to sit between your cheek or lips and gums, the worse the gum pain will be.
Long term tobacco usage can lead to gums that are pulled back from your teeth, sores inside your mouth, and overall tooth loss.
Canker Sores Can Be a Culprit
Another cause of gum pain is canker sores, which are red splotches that show up anywhere in your mouth, including on your gums. Sometimes, you will see them with a white coating.
Most often, canker sores will go away on their own within a couple of weeks, but you can also see your dentist for a little extra help nudging them away.
When Do You Need Your Gum Pain Treated By A Dentist?
If your gums hurt to the point where you cannot sleep, eat, or focus comfortably, or if they bleed and hurt for more than a week, it’s time to make a trip to the dentist. This is a severe sign of gum disease and gingivitis, which you can’t handle on your own.
The good news is that you can get your teeth and mouth back on track if you are willing to do the work, but that work often needs to be guided by a professional.
If you don’t see a dentist and it gets bad enough, you may get a more serious disease called periodontitis. Remember that gum disease can actually impact your heart and it has been linked to heart disease, so you need to take care of your mouth in order to protect your heart.
If you have ongoing symptoms, dentures that don’t fit anymore, pain when you chew, loose teeth, sensitivity, or any other problems, see a dentist as soon as possible.
How To Prevent Gum Pain
Ready for the bright side? Gum pain can be prevented with a good oral health routine.
By simply forming good habits, you can prevent long-term issues, pain, tooth loss, and costly dental treatments. Just by doing a few simple daily oral care tasks, you are doing enough to prevent the most serious of dental problems.
First, brush your teeth at least twice every day.
Be sure to brush after meals to help remove food debris and plaque that can get trapped between your teeth and gums. Use a tongue scraper or brush your tongue to rid that of bacteria as well.
You should also floss your teeth at least once a day to remove food particles that get trapped between the teeth and along the gumline.
You can floss before brushing, too. Follow brushing and flossing with mouthwash, which can reduce plaque and remove any remaining food particles that linger in your mouth. This also gets the bacteria on your teeth, gums, cheeks, and tongue. For complete preventative oral health, you can also use a pre-rinse.
For the best oral health, avoid smoking and chewing tobacco.
Try not to consistently eat foods that are crunchy or hard, which can cause tears in your gums and lead to pain. Limit salty, spicy, and acidic foods that can irritate existing problems. As you get older, you will need to take extra care to protect your teeth.
You should also try to be proactive about knowing your risk for oral health problems.
This is something that can be passed down through DNA. If your family has a history of tooth or dental problems, you may want to be extra vigilant.
Finally, if you think that you are going to have a problem, be sure to get a comprehensive examination from your dentist and, if you think it is required, a periodontist.
Men Are More Likely to Have Gum Pain
Research has shown that gum disease and gum pain are far more likely to impact men than they are to affect women.
There are many reasons why this is believed to be true, including the fact that men are less likely to go to the dentist, and they usually don’t take care of their teeth as well, in many cases.
Sorry, guys -- there are studies.
Be Selective About the Products You Use
Most importantly, be careful about the products that you use in your mouth.
Ensure that everything is high quality and healthy for your teeth and gums. Sometimes, harsh abrasives can cause microtears throughout your mouth, which may lead to pain.
Ensure that all dental work you get done is carried out appropriately, as some implants and caps can lead to gum disease and gum pain.
Gum pain is a tricky thing, and by the time you feel it or see signs of gum disease, it may already be too late to do anything simple to treat the pain and problem. Often, you will need to seek out help from a professional if the pain is too much to handle or does not subside.
Gum pain and gum disease prevention is simple and easy, especially if you already have a great oral care routine.
If gum pain does hit you hard, there are ways you can handle it, so it doesn’t disrupt your life. But if the pain does get to be so bad that you need help, it’s important to follow through on your appointments and continue building good oral hygiene habits.
Remember, your gums are just as important as those pearly whites, so keep them both brushed, cleaned, and healthy as can be for that long-lasting smile you deserve!