Sore Gums. Why do they hurt?
What causes sore gums? What can you do about it?
Sore gums are a sore subject to many people. The gums are already a fairly sensitive area of your mouth, add extra stimuli to them and they can get pretty sore, pretty fast.
So what causes sore gums? Well, several obvious things could be in play here. Eating hot foods will cause your gums to be sore, trauma to the gums, incorrect flossing and brushing (brushing and flossing with too much force), food stuck in your gums etc. All of these aforementioned things could give you some pretty sore gums. But the effects of these are usually fairly temporary. There is a much more insidious cause of sore gums which I’ll go into.
Sore gums can come from simple external factors as mentioned above but is more commonly the cause of varying degrees of gum disease. I’ve written about gum disease several different times in the past, because of the importance of knowing about it and what it does.
Gum disease is essentially infection in your gums. It’s caused by bacteria build up on and around your teeth. The bacteria, in it’s effort to stay alive in your mouth, eats the food particles remaining on your teeth and around them. The combination of the food particles, your saliva, the bacteria, and their waste produces plaque. The plaque wreaks havoc on your teeth and gums. Causing your teeth to decay because of the acidic properties of the plaque, and causes your gums to become infected. When your gums become infected they become inflamed and puffy. They turn very red and sensitive, they may bleed upon flossing and brushing your teeth and, in general, be sore. The above symptoms are the beginning stages of gum disease, and it’s called gingivitis. Gingivitis can get more advanced and turn into full-fledged gum disease. This is where, due to your bodies reaction to infected parts of the body, your gums begin to pull away from what your body thinks is causing the infection, your TEETH! Your body will actually start attempting to eject your infected teeth, bone will resorb (essentially, dissolve), and the gums will keep pulling away until your teeth are loose and come out. That is the very advanced form of gum disease and it’s not pretty. Advanced gum disease can also cause several other health problems if left untreated.
As you can see, sore gums can be quite a good indication of infection and the need for it to be taken care of. Gums don’t bleed usually if you are just brushing and flossing properly. Bleeding and sore gums indicate infection in the area and the need for them to get cleaned and taken care of.
What can you do?
Regular cleanings at your dentist are done to help prevent the above from happening. If you have sore gums, and it’s been fairly persistent, you should definitely go to the dentist to get it checked out. The longer your gums remain infected the more damage the bacteria, and your bodies reaction to it, can create problems.
Brush your teeth twice daily, once in the morning, and once again before you go to bed. Floss at least once a day, drink water (stay hydrated) and use alcohol-free mouth rinse (this will help prevent your mouth from getting too dry, bacteria love dry-mouth).
Basically, if you have sore gums and it’s been persistent, you should have it looked at by your dentist, especially if it’s been a long time since you’ve been to see them.
Stay healthy my friends. Take care of your oral health!