Pain in the gums -normally linked to inflammation and/or bleeding of the gums- is a very common pathology among the general population, although especially in people between 30 and 50 years old.
It may appear as a punctual pain associated with an injury or trauma, but that gum pain that persists over time and is presented in a very localized way is the most worrisome, since it can be a symptom of periodontal disease.
Main causes of gum pain
The most common causes of gum pain are usually periodontal diseases, which as infectious processes caused by bacteria that lodge in our mouth, cause inflammation and irritation of the gums and therefore, discomfort in them.
There are two stages of periodontal disease that cause gum pain. These are described below:
It is the periodontal disease caused by the accumulation of bacterial plaque and causes inflammation, redness and bleeding of the gingival area.
The main factor that causes it is bad dental hygiene: not brushing properly, or doing it aggressively, not using dental floss … All this favors the appearance of gingivitis.
This is the advanced stage of gingivitis, where bacteria have affected not only the soft tissues, but also the maxillary bone, putting at risk the sustenance of the teeth.
This type of infection causes symptoms such as bad breath, redness or bleeding gums, gingival inflammation, pain, and tooth movement.
Inflammation and redness of the gums
Both in the case of gingivitis and chronic periodontitis, gum pain, although very localized, usually does not occur permanently.
In fact, it most often arises during brushing or when we eat something.
Either way, the treatment to stop gingivitis that does not lead to periodontitis is a professional cleaning.
Thanks to it, the accumulated bacterial plaque will be eliminated and the gums will be deflated until, finally, the gingival pain subsides.
Other reasons why gums hurt
In addition to periodontal diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis, there are other causes that can cause the gums to hurt. These are some of them:
- After a prophylaxis: after a professional cleaning where the hygienist has to scrape the gum area to eliminate the bacterial plaque, it is normal for the gums to swell and hurt.
- After a teeth whitening treatment: products used during a teeth whitening session can cause tooth sensitivity. When this happens, the patient feels localized and intense pain when in contact with very hot or cold food or drinks. However, the discomfort should disappear by separating the teeth and gums from the external stimulus.
- Hormonal changes: although gestational gingivitis is generally known, gum pain is not only associated with pregnancy, but all hormonal changes suffered by women. For example, after childbirth, before menstruation…
- After the placement of an implant: the intervention for the placement of an implant is quite invasive so it is common that the days after surgery feel pain in the gums near the dental implant.
- After the extraction of a tooth: it is completely normal to feel pain in the gums around the extracted tooth. The exodontia will have produced an inflammation in the same ones and until this remits can suffer pains.
- After undergoing endodontics: as in previous cases, when a tooth is surgically intervened, which in this case has undergone endodontics, the gums around it are affected by the manipulation performed by the professional and therefore, may suffer pain and swelling of the nearby gingival area.
- Retracted gums: there are times when gum retraction is due to strong brushing rather than periodontal disease. When the gums back up to leave the root of the tooth uncovered, it is possible to feel severe pain that will be associated with exposure of the nerve to external stimuli.
- Diabetes: there are many studies that demonstrate the direct relationship between this pathology and periodontal diseases. And this is explained by the fact that people suffering from type 2 diabetes mellitus suffer alterations in their blood vessels that can prevent the proper circulation of blood in the gums. These circulatory problems cause inflammation and pain in the gums.
- Anemia: The lack of vitamins typical of people suffering from anaemia can also cause problems in the oral cavity.
- Bruxism: Bruxists often suffer pain in the teeth and gums due to friction caused by grinding teeth.
- Teething in babies: This is one of the most common causes of gum pain in babies. From 6 to 8 months of age children begin to feel swollen and tender gums. However, this is a natural consequence of their development.
- The use of prostheses: without proper hygiene, food remains often accumulate between the prosthesis, which can lead to tartar inflammation.
- Taking certain medications: some drugs can also cause the gums to swell and hurt.
- The use of orthodontics: orthodontic appliances such as brackets make dental cleaning difficult and can therefore favour the appearance of gingivitis due to tartar accumulation.
- Smoking: Smoking increases the accumulation of bacterial plaque, which makes periodontal diseases develop more easily.
- Misaligned teeth: when there are malpositions in the teeth is more common to accumulate tartar around the teeth. If good dental hygiene is not practiced, this situation can lead to possible gingivitis.
Since gum pain can be due to some diseases that can become serious (especially in the case of periodontitis) is important to determine which of the above may be the underlying cause in order to apply the appropriate treatment for it.
Remedies to relieve gum pain
Once we’ve diagnosed where our problem is, it’s time to look for a solution to soothe the gum pain.
When it is a punctual pain not associated with a periodontal pathology, it is common for the pain to subside using an antibacterial mouthwash specially indicated to treat the gums.
In addition, it will be advisable to limit the consumption of sugary foods and beverages and replace them with a diet rich in vitamins to help restore the normal appearance of the gums.
In cases where the pain persists, it will be time to visit a professional periodontist to verify if the cause can be a periodontal disease and treat it accordingly.
The key: prevention
Once we have regained the pink color of our gums – and with it their health – the key lies in future prevention.
In order to do this, it is advisable to follow the following recommendations:
- Be strict about cleaning your mouth after every meal and use a soft-bristled toothbrush that won’t damage your gums.
- Use dental floss to remove any food that accumulates between your teeth and that the toothbrush has not been able to remove.
- Avoid tobacco and alcohol. These are substances that help in the accumulation of plaque so it is advisable to reduce its consumption to a minimum.
- Go to the hygienist for professional cleaning at least once a year. This will allow the gingivitis to be kept at bay and will prevent the pain from arising again.
If you think you could suffer from a periodontal disease or need a professional cleaning to help you get rid of gum pain, ask for an appointment at Ferrus & Bratos and in a first free consultation we will recommend the most suitable treatment for your dental problem.