Dr. Joshua Bratt RVC Dentist

143 N Long Beach Rd, Suite 3, Rockville Centre, NY 11570

Call Us (516) 764-7333 

Call Us (516) 764-7333 

Existing Patients  | New Patients 

Why Do My Gums Hurt? – Causes and Treatment for Gum Pain

Gum pain is a common problem that many people experience at some point in their lives, often asking themselves, “why do my gums hurt?” But what causes it, and how can it be managed? In this blog post, we’ll explore the various factors that contribute to gum pain, from poor oral hygiene practices to lifestyle choices. We’ll also discuss effective home remedies and self-care tips to help you find relief from this discomfort. Get ready to discover the secrets to maintaining healthy gums and a pain-free smile while understanding why my gums hurt!


Short Summary

  • Gum pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including gingivitis, poor oral hygiene and lifestyle choices.
  • Home remedies such as warm salt water rinses or over the counter medications may provide temporary relief from gum pain.
  • Professional help should be sought if home remedies do not relieve symptoms or when signs of infection are present to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.

Understanding Gum Pain: Common Causes

A close-up of a person's mouth showing signs of gum disease


Have you ever wondered why your gums hurt? Gum pain can be attributed to various factors, ranging from gingivitis and poor oral hygiene to canker sores. In some cases, gum pain might even be caused by headaches, dysfunction in the temporomandibular joint, or facial nerve dysfunction. It’s essential to identify the underlying cause to find the most effective treatment.


Gum pain might be localized or generalized, depending on the cause. Localized pain could be due to an affected tooth or a specific spot of gingival inflammation. On the other hand, generalized pain is usually associated with widespread gum disease or poor oral hygiene. In both cases, it’s crucial to maintain proper oral hygiene and seek professional help if painful gums persist.


Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease

Gingivitis, a form of periodontal disease, is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene practices. It results from the accumulation of bacteria on the teeth and gums, otherwise known as plaque. Gingivitis, if left untreated, can progress to periodontitis and cause bleeding gums. This can lead to tooth loss.


To prevent the progression of gingivitis, it’s essential to practice proper oral hygiene, attend regular dental check-ups, and receive routine scaling at least once or twice a year. Treatment for gingivitis may include professional cleaning of the teeth by a dentist or dental hygienist, rinsing the mouth with chlorhexidine 0.12% oral rinse or half-strength hydrogen peroxide, and regular flossing and brushing of the teeth.


Improper Brushing Techniques

Believe it or not, the way you brush your teeth can have a significant impact on your gum health. Using a hard-bristled toothbrush or brushing too vigorously can damage gum tissue and cause pain. To avoid gum pain and maintain healthy gums, switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently using small circular motions.


Remember, it’s not about how hard you brush, but how well you clean your teeth and gums.


Canker Sores and Oral Infections

Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, are small, painful lesions with a yellow center and red border that can appear on the tongue or inside the mouth, causing sore gums. They can cause localized gum pain and are often triggered by food sensitivities. While canker sores are not the same as gum disease, they can still be quite uncomfortable and may require treatment to alleviate the pain.


Bacterial or viral infections can also cause gum pain and localized swelling. If you suspect an infection in your gums, it’s crucial to seek dental treatment to prevent the infection from spreading. Depending on the severity, treatment options may include scaling and root planing, antibiotics, or even a root canal or extraction for severe cases.


Lifestyle Factors Contributing to Gum Pain

A person smoking a cigarette with a caption "Smoking and Tobacco Use can cause gum pain"


Certain lifestyle factors can contribute to gum pain, such as poor oral hygiene and smoking. Additionally, an unhealthy diet, obesity, stress, and specific health conditions like diabetes and osteoporosis may also increase your risk of developing gum disease and gum pain. By addressing these lifestyle factors, you can significantly improve your overall oral health and reduce the chances of experiencing gum pain.


It’s essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle, not only for your overall well-being but also for your oral health. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and stress management techniques can all help support a healthy immune system, making it easier for your body to fight off infections and maintain healthy gums.


Smoking and Tobacco Use

Smoking and tobacco use can have a detrimental impact on your oral health, leading to tooth staining, gum disease, tooth loss, and even mouth cancer. Furthermore, smoking reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood, which can hinder the body’s ability to heal and fight off infections, potentially leading to gum disease.


Quitting smoking and avoiding tobacco products can significantly improve your oral health and reduce your risk of gum pain. If you’re struggling to quit, consider seeking help from a healthcare professional or support group to help you kick the habit for good.


Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can also lead to gum pain and swelling. The increase in progesterone during these times can cause gum inflammation and increased sensitivity due to enhanced blood circulation to the gums.


If you’re experiencing gum pain related to hormonal changes, it’s essential to maintain good oral hygiene and consult your dentist for further guidance and potential home remedies.


Poor Diet and Nutrient Deficiencies

An unhealthy diet can negatively impact your gum health, as a lack of essential nutrients can impair your immune system and make it harder for your body to resist infection. Conversely, a nutritious diet rich in calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C can help support strong teeth and healthy gums.


Incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet can ensure that your body receives the nutrients it needs to maintain optimal oral health.


Dental Appliances and Gum Pain

ZDental appliances such as braces, retainers, or dentures can sometimes cause gum pain due to the pressure and irritation they impose on the gums. While these appliances are often necessary for correcting dental issues, it’s essential to monitor any discomfort and consult your dentist if the pain persists or worsens.


Regular check-ups with your dentist can help ensure that your dental appliances are properly fitted.


Braces and Orthodontic Treatment

Braces can be both a blessing and a curse for your oral health. On one hand, they help straighten your teeth and reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. On the other hand, braces can trap food particles and create plaque, which can cause dental decay and gum disease if not cleaned properly. Additionally, braces can cause gum irritation, swelling, and soreness, especially when they are first placed or tightened.


To minimize gum pain and maintain healthy gums while wearing braces, it’s crucial to practice good oral hygiene, such as regular brushing and flossing, and visit your dentist for regular checkups. If your braces continue to cause discomfort, speak with your orthodontist about possible adjustments or alternatives to reduce gum pain.


Ill-Fitting Dentures

Ill-fitting dentures can cause a host of problems, including gum irritation, inflammation, and persistent gums sore. If you’re experiencing gum pain due to poorly fitting dentures, it’s essential to visit your dentist for an adjustment or replacement.


A well-fitting set of dentures can significantly improve your overall comfort and oral health.


Effective Home Remedies for Gum Pain Relief

A person brushing their teeth with a caption "Proper Brushing and Flossing Techniques can help relieve gum pain"


While it’s important to address the underlying cause of your gum pain, there are several home remedies and self-care tips you can try for temporary relief. These remedies can help alleviate pain and inflammation, making it easier to maintain your oral hygiene routine as you work towards a long-term solution.


For example, you can rinse your mouth with warm salt water to reduce inflammation and pain.


Proper Brushing and Flossing Techniques

The foundation of any effective oral care routine is proper brushing and flossing techniques. When brushing, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and place it at a 45-degree angle where the gums and teeth meet. Use small circular motions to gently brush the gumline and teeth, making sure to clean every surface of every tooth.


When flossing, cut a piece of floss approximately 18 inches long and gently slide it between your teeth, curving it around each tooth in a C shape and moving it up and down. Practicing these techniques will help prevent gum pain and keep your mouth healthy.


Warm Salt Water Rinses

Warm salt water rinses offer a variety of benefits for those experiencing gum pain, including reducing inflammation, alleviating pain, and decreasing the likelihood of infection. To make a warm salt water rinse, dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and swish it around your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out.


You can repeat this process four times a day for two weeks to help alleviate gum pain and inflammation.


Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin can provide temporary relief from mild to moderate gum pain. These medications are generally safe and effective when used as directed, but it’s essential to read the label and consult your doctor before taking them, as they may interact with other medications or cause side effects.


Remember, over-the-counter pain relievers should not be used as a long-term solution for gum pain – it’s crucial to address the underlying cause and seek professional help if needed.


When to Seek Professional Help

A person gargling with warm salt water with a caption "Warm Salt Water Rinses can help relieve gum pain"


While home remedies and self-care tips can provide temporary relief from gum pain, it’s essential to recognize when professional help is needed. If your gum pain persists despite trying various remedies or worsens over time, it’s crucial to consult a dentist or healthcare professional for a thorough examination and appropriate treatment.


A professional can diagnose the underlying cause of your gum pain and provide the best course of action.


Persistent Pain and Swelling

If your swollen and sore gums do not improve with home remedies or worsen over time, it’s essential to seek medical attention. Persistent gum pain and gum swelling can be indicative of a more serious underlying issue, such as an infection or gum disease, that requires professional intervention for swollen gums.


Don’t ignore these symptoms – it’s always best to consult a healthcare professional to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.


Signs of Infection

An image of inflamed gums, which may be a sign of infection caused by why do my gums hurt


Gum infections, which can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, can cause a variety of symptoms, including fever, intense pain, and pus. If you suspect you have a bacterial infection in your inflamed gums, it’s crucial to seek dental treatment as soon as possible to prevent the infection from spreading and causing further damage.


Depending on the severity, treatment options may include antibiotics, scaling and root planing, or even a root canal or extraction for severe cases.



In conclusion, gum pain is a common issue that can result from various causes, ranging from poor oral hygiene and gum disease to lifestyle factors and dental appliances. With insights from Dr. Joshua Bratt, a leading dental expert, you can better understand the underlying causes of your gum pain and implement proper oral care techniques to effectively manage and prevent further discomfort. Remember, it’s essential to seek professional help if home remedies fail to provide relief or if you experience persistent pain and swelling, as these could be indicative of a more serious issue. Embrace a lifelong commitment to maintaining good oral health – take charge of your gum health today and enjoy a pain-free smile for years to come.


Frequently Asked Questions


Why do my gums hurt for no reason?

Gum pain can be caused by not brushing and flossing properly, dental irritations, a vitamin K deficiency, or hormone changes. It could also be a sign of gum disease, so it’s important to take care of your oral hygiene and contact your dentist for further examination if the discomfort persists.


What can I do for my gums to stop hurting?

To reduce gum pain, try a saltwater rinse, warm/cold compresses, or homemade dental sprays. You can also take over-the-counter pain killers and use herbal teas and oral anesthesia gels.


If the pain persists for more than a week, you should visit your dentist to check for gum disease.


Will gum pain go away?

The gum pain may resolve on its own, however, if symptoms persist it’s best to visit a dentist for further evaluation.


Why does the gum behind my last tooth hurt?

You may be experiencing pericoronitis, an inflammation of the gum tissue around your wisdom tooth. It can be caused by a tooth that is still partially impacted and symptoms range from mild to severe, so it’s best to get it treated.


Pericoronitis can cause pain, swelling, and difficulty opening your mouth. It can also lead to infection if left untreated. Treatment options include antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, and more.


How does smoking affect gum health?

Smoking can significantly damage your gum health, causing tooth staining, gum disease, tooth loss, and even mouth cancer. Additionally, it reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood, which may result in gum disease.


Dr Joshua Bratt

Social Media

Most Popular

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Did you like our content?
Stay up to date

Related Posts