Why Do My Gums Hurt?

Why Do My Gums Hurt? | Common Causes & Treatments

Millions of people suffer from gum pain and ask, ‘why do my gums hurt?’. This pain could arise when you brush or floss your teeth or eat something cold or very hot. We have listed some common causes of why you may be experiencing sore gums with ways to prevent and treat your symptoms.

Common Causes Of Gum Pain

Do you find yourself asking the following questions:

  • Why do my gums hurt in one spot?
  • Why do my gums hurt when I brush my teeth?
  • Why do my gums hurt when I floss?
  • Why do my gums hurt when I eat?

Gum pain is an early sign of periodontal disease. Although the pain caused by gum disease may not be severe, it is a common problem that many people do not pay much attention to.

Therefore, the cause can worsen. Improper brushing, flossing techniques, infections, and gum diseases can cause painful and sensitive gums.

Other causes that have nothing to do with oral hygiene are:

Your gum pain could be a sign of mouth ulcers, which are painful, non-contagious ulcers that occur on the gums or other areas in the mouth. If not treated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, leading to tooth loss and further infections.

These diseases can often be prevented with proper oral hygiene. Mouth ulcers tend to disappear within about 14 days. If mouth ulcers last longer than 2 weeks, you should consult your dentist.

Other common causes listed below can answer your questions: ‘ Why do my gums hurt in one spot?’ or ‘Why do my gums hurt when I brush my teeth?’:

oral hygiene prevents painful gums
Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine is the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Periodontitis

Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease that can have serious consequences, such as possible tooth loss and other health problems.

You will likely have gum disease or periodontitis if your gums are red, swollen, or bleeding. If left untreated, this can lead to more serious health concerns.

Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Nutrition

A healthy, balanced diet can help prevent gum pain and gum disease. A diet high in vitamin C and calcium can minimize the risk of gum problems. Avoid sugar and sticky food that get stuck in your teeth and cause tooth decay, which can also lead to gum issues.

Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Allergies

Your sore gums may be allergic to a food or dental hygiene product. An elimination diet can help you identify the food allergy damaging your gums.

Try a diet where certain foods are not eaten for 30 days and then reintroduced to see what happens. The quickest way to determine whether a food or other substance triggers the reaction is to meet with an allergist.

An allergist can help you determine the cause of your reaction and recommend other treatments.

Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Tobacco

Smoking tobacco products such as cigarettes and cigars can damage the gums. Using smokeless tobacco, such as chewing tobacco or snuff (ground tobacco leaves), can do even more harm.

Tobacco use and the associated gum disease can increase the risk of gum inflammation. To improve your gum health, stop using tobacco products. Your local health provider can help you quit.

Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Stress

Stress increases cortisol levels in the body, increasing the likelihood of inflammation in the body, including your gums. Try to reduce stress as much as possible.

Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Oral Hygiene

Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine is the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy and can help prevent gum diseases. Brush your teeth after meals and at least twice a day, in the morning and evening.

Use a toothpaste containing fluoride, dental floss, and an antibacterial mouthwash. Visit your dentist every 6 months for a check-up and cleaning.

Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Hormonal Changes

Many women have changes in hormones that affect their gums at different times in their lives, including puberty.

The influx of hormones during puberty can increase blood flow to the gums, leading to swelling and sensitivity. During menstruation, the female gums swell and are more likely to bleed.

This swelling subsides when menstruation ends. Gum pain or bleeding may also occur in some women at the beginning of the second or third month of pregnancy and up to the eighth month.

If you notice gum pain related to one of these hormonal changes, your dentist will review your situation and recommend treatment. Menopausal women may find their gums dry, leading to pain and bleeding.

Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Abscesses

An infection in the tooth roots can form a Periodontal abscess. This can lead to painful, swollen gums. If your dentist diagnoses an abscess, they will recommend further treatment.

Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Dentures

Dentures or partial dentures that do not fit properly can irritate the gums. This can lead to tissue damage and gum disease.

A root canal procedure may also be required. You can work with your dentist to partially or otherwise adjust the fit of your dentures to eliminate gum pain.

Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Vitamin Deficiency

Good oral health is supported by proper nutrition, including sufficient vitamin B and vitamin C. Vitamin deficiency can lead to several diseases, such as scurvy, which can cause swollen and painful gums and other symptoms.

A healthy, balanced diet that meets the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals can treat vitamin deficiency.

Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Oral Cancer

Oral cancer occurs when wounds refuse to heal and can occur in the gums, the inner cheeks, the tongue, or the tonsils.

It can feel like a lump or mouth ulcer. If you have wounds in your mouth that do not heal within two weeks, go to the dentist immediately after diagnosis. Cancer treatment includes surgery to remove cancer cells or tumors, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy.

dentist treating gum disease
Regular visits to your dentist can prevent gum disease

Treatments & Remedies For Sore Gums

There are a few treatments and remedies you can try to relieve gum pain. However, if your pain does not go away and worsens, you must visit your dentist to find the main cause.

Hot Or Cold Compress

Hot or cold compresses can help reduce swelling and relieve pain in the gums. To make a hot compress for the gums, dip a clean cloth in hot (but not boiling) water.

Press the cloth on the area between the cheek and lip to cover the most painful part of the gums. Make a cold compress using an ice pack wrapped in a cleaning cloth.

Salt Water Rinse

Saltwater rinsing and gargling with salt water can reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the gums. This can help reduce swelling, which can cause pain.

To rinse salt water, mix half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water, take a sip but do not swallow, swirl the solution around in your mouth for a few minutes, gargle, spit and repeat if necessary.


Many teas contain plant substances called tannins. Green, hibiscus, and black teas all contain significant amounts of tannin. According to research, these compounds can relieve gum pain and kill the bacteria that irritate the gums.

These substances can cause a sensitive sensation in the mouth when drinking strong tea. Some teas contain ingredients that reduce inflammation, including ginger and chamomile. You can even place a cooled teabag directly on your gums.

Herbal Remedies

People have been using herbs for centuries for pain-relieving properties. You can make a paste from turmeric and water to relieve gum pain.

Mix powdered turmeric or cloves with a small amount of warm water to make a herbal paste and apply directly to the gums.

Cloves and turmeric (from the plant genus spilanthe) are used in ayurvedic medicine; however, using turmeric often may cause tooth staining.

Essential Oils

Several pharmaceutical products contain essential oils because of their diverse health benefits.

You can buy essential oils to produce your own home remedies. Cloves, oregano, and peppermint oil all have properties that can help reduce inflammation, relieve pain and improve circulation.

You can make a spray with essential oils and water and use it to relieve gum pain. To make the spray, add 4 to 5 drops of essential oils to 1 ounce of water in a clean spray bottle. Spray the mixture onto the site of the gingival pain.


Benzocaine is the main ingredient in common oral gels such as Orajel and Anbesol. It is important to follow the instructions on the label before using an oral gel to treat gum pain.

A person can relieve mild to moderate gum pain at home. Over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) can help ease tooth and mouth discomfort.

Combining an over-the-counter painkiller with a home remedy, such as gargling with a saltwater solution, is the best result. The person should talk to their dentist if gum pain is persistent or severe.

It is important to pay attention to warning signs indicating a serious underlying health problem. Symptoms that need medical attention include persistent pain, severe pain, swelling, and a fever.

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