Why Do My Gums Hurt?

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Are you asking yourself, why do my gums hurt? Gingivitis, periodontitis, tooth decay, abscess, injury, or trauma are all potential causes of gum pain. Treatment options include everything from professional cleanings to antibiotics, pain relievers, and dental procedures.

Gum pain is a common dental problem that can be uncomfortable and even impair one’s ability to eat and speak. Redness, swelling, bleeding, and sensitivity are all symptoms. Understanding the causes of gum pain is critical for preventing further dental issues and maintaining good oral health.

In this article, we’ll explore what causes sore gums, how to treat sore gums, and how to prevent painful gums in the first place.

Common causes of gum pain

Gum pain can be caused by a variety of factors, and determining the underlying cause is critical in determining the appropriate treatment. Gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums caused by plaque buildup on the teeth, is one of the most common causes of gum pain. Gingivitis can cause gum swelling, tenderness, and bleeding.

Gum disease

Gum disease is the most common cause of painful, inflamed gums.

Gum diseases are surprisingly common and can really make your gums hurt. You’ll usually be able to identify gum disease if you have swollen gums that feel sensitive and painful. You may even discover that you have bleeding gums while brushing and flossing your teeth.

Gingivitis, if left untreated, can progress to periodontitis, a more advanced form of gum disease that affects the bone that supports the teeth. Periodontitis is a condition in which the gums pull away from the teeth, forming pockets that become infected and cause severe pain and discomfort. Periodontitis in its advanced stages can even result in tooth loss.

Tooth decay

Another common cause of gum pain is tooth decay. A cavity or infection in a tooth can spread to the gums, causing inflammation and discomfort. A tooth abscess, which is a pus pocket that forms in the tooth or gum, can also cause severe pain and inflammation.

Gum injury or trauma

Gum pain can also be caused by injury or trauma to the gums. This can happen as a result of an accident, aggressive brushing or flossing, or even dental procedures. Pain may be felt immediately following an injury, or it may develop over time.

Gum pain, if left untreated, can lead to more serious dental problems. If you have persistent gum pain, it is critical that you seek professional dental care and practise good oral hygiene to avoid future problems.

Canker sores

Canker sores, also called mouth sores, are another relatively frequent cause of sore gums.

Canker sores are small white sores that can develop on your gum line. The good news is that these usually go away on their own, but in some cases they may be stubborn and it may be necessary to get them looked at by a dentist.

Risk factors that can contribute or lead to sore gums

Gum pain can be caused by a number of factors, including a number of risk factors that increase the likelihood of experiencing gum pain.

Poor oral hygiene

Almost all oral health problems can be traced back to having an insufficient oral hygiene routine.

Failure to brush and floss on a regular basis can result in the accumulation of plaque and bacteria on the teeth and gums, which can cause inflammation, tenderness, and bleeding.

Using tobacco products

Another significant risk factor for gum pain is smokeless tobacco use. Tobacco use, both smoking and chewing, can cause significant gum damage, resulting in inflammation, bleeding, and gum recession. Tobacco chemicals can also weaken the immune system, making it more difficult for the body to fight infections.

Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes, such as those experienced during pregnancy, can also have an impact on gum health. Hormonal fluctuations can make the gums more sensitive and vulnerable to inflammation and infection.

Prescription medications

Certain medications, such as some types of oral contraceptives, can also have an effect on gum health. These medications have the potential to cause hormonal changes that increase the risk of gum disease.


Finally, chronic illnesses such as diabetes can increase the likelihood of gum pain developing. Diabetes can impair the body’s ability to fight infections, and high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels supplying the gums.

Tips on preventing gum pain in the first place

When it comes to gum pain, prevention is everything. Maintaining good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing on a regular basis is critical for preventing plaque buildup, which can cause gum inflammation and pain. Furthermore, visiting the dentist on a regular basis for check-ups and professional cleanings can aid in the prevention and treatment of gum disease.

Another important step in preventing gum pain is to avoid smoking. Tobacco use, both smoking and chewing, can harm the gums and cause gum recession, which can cause pain and sensitivity.

Those suffering from chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, must carefully manage their condition and monitor their blood sugar levels. Uncontrolled diabetes can increase the likelihood of developing gum disease and gum pain.

A healthy diet and limiting sugary and acidic foods, in addition to these steps, can help to prevent gum pain. Water consumption can also help to keep the mouth and gums hydrated and healthy.

Treatment options for sore gums

There are several treatment options available if you are suffering from gum pain. A professional cleaning may be recommended by your dentist to remove plaque and tartar buildup and to help prevent further inflammation and infection. Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat infections that are causing gum pain.

To relieve discomfort and reduce inflammation, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be used. To help relieve pain and inflammation, your dentist may also recommend specific oral rinses or topical gels.

Dental procedures may be required in some cases to address specific issues that are causing gum pain. A root canal, for example, may be required to treat an infected tooth, whereas an extraction may be required to remove a severely damaged or decayed tooth.

Periodontal therapy may be required in more severe cases of gum disease to remove bacteria and tartar buildup from the teeth and gums. Scaling and root planing are examples of deep cleaning procedures.

If you have gum pain, you should never ignore the signs but seek professional dental help as soon as possible.

Closing thoughts on why your gums hurt

Gum pain can be caused by a number of factors such as poor oral hygiene, gum disease, injury, and others. To maintain good oral health, it is critical to practise preventative measures such as regular brushing and flossing and visiting the dentist on a regular basis.

If you are experiencing gum pain, it is critical that you seek immediate dental care to prevent the condition from worsening. Your dentist can recommend a treatment plan depending on your specific needs, which may include professional cleaning, antibiotics, pain relievers, or specific dental procedures.

You can reduce your risk of developing gum pain and other dental issues by practising good oral hygiene and seeking professional dental care, leading to better oral health and overall well-being. If you are experiencing gum pain, don’t put off getting the medical advice, diagnosis and treatment you need; it is the first step towards healthy gums and a healthy smile.


Q: Why are my gums suddenly sore?

A: You can suddenly develop sore or sensitive gums for a variety of reasons.

Gingivitis, or gum inflammation caused by plaque buildup, is one of the most common causes. Sore gums can also be caused by poor oral hygiene, as well as gum injury or trauma. Gum pain can also be caused by hormonal changes, certain medications, and chronic illnesses such as diabetes.

If your gums become painful suddenly, you should see a dentist for an evaluation to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.

Dr Febin Mary George - Editor

With more than 10 years as a dental surgeon, Dr Febin Mary George is passionate about educating consumers around the world to help look after their teeth.

She completed her Bachelor of Surgery at the Century Institute of Dental Science and Research Centre in 2010.

Alongside editing the International Journal of Dental Clinics she has also written for major publications including Thrive Global.