Why Do My Gums Hurt: Understanding the Basics

Are your gums feeling tender or looking red and inflamed? Bleeding or painful gums can often indicate serious oral health issues, such as gum disease. So, it’s important to not ignore the signs. Oral health comes down to more than just your teeth. Gums are equally as important and require ongoing care too. Healthy gums can have positive impacts on both your oral health and your overall health.

At The Dental Family Beaumaris, we’ve helped many patients improve their gum health. In this article, we answer the question: why do my gums hurt?

Why do my gums hurt?

If you’re experiencing gum swelling, soreness or bleeding, it could indicate the presence of a variety of oral health issues. If you do experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek dental care as soon as possible. If you’ve ever wondered, “why do my gums hurt?”, below are a few of the possible causes:

Main cause

Gum disease

Gum disease is the most common adult dental disease and we see it regularly during check-ups at our bayside dental clinic. It’s a bacteria-related disease related to inadequate oral hygiene and lack of regular professional teeth cleaning. Gum disease is one of the most common causes of inflamed, bleeding and sore gums.

In its initial stage, gum disease is known as gingivitis, caused by plaque build-up. Over time this plaque leads to inflammation in the gums. It’s important to treat it in its early stages to avoid it progressing to periodontitis and more severe issues such as tooth loss. 

One of the most common symptoms of gingivitis is bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth. If you’re experiencing bleeding, you need to see your dentist. 

Less Common Causes

Sinus infection

Sometimes sore gums can be caused by issues to do with our general health. A sinus infection, for example, can cause referred pain in your jaw, teeth and gums. If you’re experiencing this kind of pain, you should seek the help of a doctor or medical professional. 

Cuts or abrasions

Your gums may be feeling sensitive because of a cut or an abrasion. Dental devices, such as braces, retainers or dentures can sometimes cause little cuts or abrasions on your gums. If your braces, retainers or dentures are causing you an unusual amount of discomfort, The Dental Family Beaumaris can help you.

Mouth ulcers

Mouth ulcers can often be quite painful and irritating. They usually appear on your gum line or the inside of your cheeks. They appear as raised red bumps that may have a white or yellow centre. Most ulcers heal by themselves within a few weeks. If you’re experiencing consistent mouth ulcers, you should seek the advice of a dental professional. 

Treating bleeding or sore gums

If your gums are constantly bleeding or causing you discomfort, it’s important you visit your dentist to determine the cause and get you back on track with a customised treatment plan. Below are some of the possible options: 

Deep Cleaning

The first line in treating gum disease is a deep clean. Unlike a regular clean, a deep clean goes beneath your gum line, removing the harmful bacteria trapped there. How did the bacteria get there? This is usually a result of not cleaning regularly between your teeth and not having a regular professional cleaning.

The bacteria start above the gum line and after a period of time move beneath the gum line where you can no longer clean with your home cleaning tools. This leaves the bacteria to have free reign to start causing gum damage. This usually happens painlessly without you being aware. At this point, professional intervention with a deep cleaning is required. Your dentist has special tools specially designed to undertake this task. This process is called scaling and root planing.

Medication

Once the issue has been diagnosed by your dentist or medical professional you may be prescribed some medication. This could include antibiotics or over-the-counter medication. If your gum pain is caused by an infection, antibiotics may be the likely treatment option. Ulcers can be treated with over-the-counter creams and gels. 

Tissue removal

Sometimes painful gums are caused by excess tissue that is infected. In this instance, your dentist may recommend minor surgery to remove it. This may be done by your dentist or a gum specialist. Is a reasonably simple procedure that is usually done with the use of local anaesthetic. This treatment can be a good way of stopping consistent or recurring infections. 

Tooth removal

Serious cases of gum disease can lead to the eventual need for a tooth removal. When gum disease is left untreated, it can cause your gum line to recede. This leads to loose teeth and can damage the bone in your jaw. Your dentist may recommend tooth extraction as a last resort. 

Preventing bleeding or sore gums

Gum disease is one of the most common oral issues but luckily there are simple steps you can take to prevent sore gums. Here are our tips and tricks:

  • Brush your teeth: You should be brushing your teeth twice a day for a full two minutes. if your gums are sore and tender be sure to use a ‘soft’ or ‘extra soft’ toothbrush. Use gentle circular motions and avoid putting too much pressure on your gum line. 
  • Regular professional cleanings: Your dentist can help you to keep your teeth clean, they can also spot potential problems. You should aim to visit your dentist twice a year for a check-up and professional clean. 
  • Clean between your teeth: Ensure you clean between your teeth each day as well as brushing, with the use of dental floss or interdental brush. 
  • Use mouthwash: A therapeutic mouthwash helps to get rid of extra debris and bacteria in your mouth but this isn’t a replacement for brushing and cleaning between your teeth. 

The Dental Family Beaumaris is here to help

If you’ve ever wondered, “why do my gums hurt?”, we hope we’ve been able to shed some light on the issue for you. At The Dental Family Beaumaris, we are experts in gum care. Our team of dedicated dentists are highly trained to provide your teeth and gums with top-quality care. We can help to diagnose and treat a range of issues related to bleeding or painful gums. If your gums are bleeding or hurting, give us a call to book an appointment today.