Sore Gums: Causes, Treatments and Relief for Sensitive Gums

sore gumsWhat do Sore Gums Mean?

Millions of Americans have experienced sore gums. You're brushing or flossing and notice a painful sensation in your gums. Sometimes your sore gums may even start bleeding while you're brushing or flossing. Since the pain from sore gums isn't usually very severe and is such a common problem, many people don't pay much attention to sore gums. But sore gums could be an early sign of gum disease. Fortunately, addressing sore gums isn't usually very difficult, especially if you catch it during the early stages of gum disease.

Sore Gums Causes

Brushing too hard, improper flossing techniques, infection, or gum disease can cause sore and sensitive gums. Other causes unrelated to oral hygiene could include a Vitamin K deficiency, hormonal changes during pregnancy, leukemia or blood disorders. If you notice sore or sensitive gums, always consult your dentist or doctor.
Sore gums or gums that are swollen or bleeding are most often linked to gum disease. There are two stages of gum disease, both of which may cause sore gums.
  • Gingivitis: This is the early and mildest form of gum disease; sore gums are often one of the first signs that you may be suffering from gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to more serious gum diseases.
  • Periodontitis: Periodontitis is a more advanced form of gum disease with more serious implications, such as possible tooth loss and other health problems.
Other causes of sore and sensitive gums:
  • Diet: A healthy and well-balanced diet can help prevent sore gums and gum disease. A diet that includes plenty of Vitamin C and calcium may minimize your risk for gum problems.
  • Tobacco Use: Tobacco use has been associated with gum disease and increases your risk for sore gums.
  • Stress: Stress raises the levels of cortisol in your body, which increases the likelihood of inflammation throughout the body. Try to reduce stress if you can.
  • Lack of Oral Hygiene: Maintaining a diligent oral hygiene routine is the best way to keep your teeth healthy and help prevent sore gums.

Sore Gums Relief and Treatment

Many Americans (up to 50 percent) have gingivitis, a symptom of which can be sore or sensitive gums. Because that pain and sensitivity are so common, many don't think twice about how to prevent or treat them.
Since many causes of sensitive gums are tied to oral hygiene, the tips below are the best place to start:
  • Brush at least twice a day
  • Use a soft-bristle toothbrush
  • Floss at least once per day
  • See your dentist regularly
  • Eat a well-balanced diet

Can Sensitive Teeth Cause Grinding Pain?

No matter how good you are to your teeth all day, there's a common condition that could be harming your teeth at night: teeth grinding. You may not have any idea that you're doing it, but once you know the symptoms, you might be surprised.

Grinding your teeth at night can have pretty subtle symptoms. Most people simply notice that they're waking up stressed with a sore, painful jaw. They also often report having a persistent headache throughout the day. And because these symptoms can often go overlooked, the nightly grinding continues and lots of unseen damage is done to your teeth.

Teeth grinding (also known as bruxism) is just another way our bodies react to stress, but if left unchecked, it can cause major tooth sensitivity, which is both painful and stressful. The damage happens slowly over time: grinding creates tiny cracks in the enamel of your teeth. Eventually dentin, the sensitive layer under your enamel, becomes exposed and makes your teeth vulnerable to hot and cold temperatures.

Don't let one problem lead to another. If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth, visit your dentist so he or she can check for signs and possibly prescribe you a night guard. This should help both you and your teeth get a good night's sleep.