Why Do I Have Gum Pain? Top Causes of Painful Gums

Dental health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being, and the condition of your gums plays a significant role in maintaining healthy teeth, not to mention a healthy body.

Gum pain is a common issue that can indicate a problem with your teeth, gums, or overall oral health. Whether it’s mild discomfort or severe pain, understanding the causes of painful gums is essential for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Let’s explore what gum pain feels like, the top causes of gum pain, and provide insights into how to address this discomfort with the help of your Asheville dentist.

What Does Gum Pain Feel Like?

The symptoms of gum pain can vary. For some people, painful gums will feel tender to the touch, swollen, and appear red. For others, gums may hurt only when brushing or flossing. Some people may see bleeding gums when they brush or floss, in addition to experiencing discomfort.

Gum pain can also be more severe and feel like a throbbing sensation that doesn’t go away. In such cases, an infection may be present that requires emergency dental care.

No matter what your gum pain feels like, it’s essential not to ignore the discomfort. Seeking the advice of a professional dentist as soon as possible can help prevent your pain from getting worse and resolve the issue.

Common Causes of Gum Pain

There are several potential causes of gum discomfort to be aware of. Let’s review each of them in more detail.

Periodontal (Gum) Disease

One of the leading causes of gum pain is gum disease, which includes gingivitis, the beginning stage of gum disease, and periodontitis, or full-blown gum disease.

Gingivitis is often characterized by red, swollen, and tender gum tissue. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease that can cause damage to the teeth and supporting structures.

Periodontitis can lead to deep pockets around the teeth, gum recession, tooth sensitivity, and, ultimately, tooth loss. Both gingivitis and periodontitis can result in gum pain, infection, inflammation, and bleeding, making it essential to seek professional dental care for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Oral Hygiene and Gum Pain

Inadequate oral hygiene is a significant contributor to gum pain. When plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, builds up along the gum line, it can lead to irritation and inflammation of the gums, causing them to become tender and painful.

Plaque buildup is often exacerbated by poor brushing and flossing habits, allowing bacteria to thrive and contribute to gum disease. Moreover, the accumulation of tartar, a hardened form of plaque, can further irritate the gum tissue, resulting in discomfort and pain.

It’s crucial to maintain consistent and effective oral hygiene practices, including brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and scheduling regular dental cleanings to prevent gum pain associated with poor oral care.

Gingival Recession and Tooth Sensitivity

Gum pain may also stem from gingival recession, a condition in which the gum tissue pulls away from the teeth, exposing the tooth roots. As a result, individuals may experience heightened sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, as well as discomfort when consuming sweet or acidic foods.

The exposed roots lack the protective enamel covering present on the crowns of the teeth, making them susceptible to sensitivity and pain, which can range from mild to severe.

Gingival recession can be caused by various factors, including aggressive tooth brushing, periodontal disease, and certain habits such as tobacco use. Research also shows that your risk for gum recession may increase with age.

Addressing gum recession may involve switching to a softer toothbrush, desensitizing treatments such as in-office fluoride applications, and, in severe cases, surgical interventions to restore gum tissue.

Hormonal Changes and Gum Discomfort

Hormonal fluctuations can have a notable impact on gum health and contribute to gum pain, particularly in pregnant people. During hormonal changes—such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause—gums may become more sensitive and prone to inflammation.

This heightened susceptibility can lead to discomfort, swelling, and even the development of pregnancy gingivitis in pregnant people. Additionally, hormonal shifts may affect blood flow to the gums, altering their response to irritants and potentially exacerbating gum pain.

It’s crucial for individuals experiencing hormonal-related gum discomfort to maintain meticulous oral hygiene, seek regular dental care, and discuss their concerns with a healthcare professional to manage these changes effectively and protect their smiles.

Trauma, Oral Infections, and Systemic Conditions

Other factors contributing to gum pain include trauma to the mouth, oral infections, and underlying systemic conditions.

  • Trauma, such as accidental injuries or repetitive friction from ill-fitting dental appliances such as dentures, can cause localized gum pain and discomfort that requires professional treatment.
  • Oral infections such as abscesses or ulcers can also manifest as painful gum lesions, requiring prompt assessment and treatment by a dental professional.
  • Systemic conditions such as diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and nutritional deficiencies can impact gum health, potentially leading to gum pain and oral complications.

Managing these conditions with your dentist and appropriate healthcare providers can mitigate their impact on gum health and overall well-being.

What to Do If You Have Gum Pain

Multiple factors may contribute to your gum pain, so always schedule an appointment with your dentist in Asheville if you are experiencing discomfort. Although it may be tempting to attempt to address your gum pain on your own, most conditions causing the discomfort will need professional treatment to fix.

The best thing you can do if you have gum pain is to schedule a dental appointment. However, if you are experiencing severe gum pain and can’t find an emergency dentist, don’t hesitate to go to the emergency room, as some gum pain results from life-threatening infections.

Protect Your Gum Health With Saunders DDS

By recognizing the top causes of gum pain and taking proactive steps to maintain healthy gums, you can have a pain-free and vibrant smile. Remember, healthy gums don’t just protect your teeth—they can also help support your bodily health. Protect your gum health by booking an appointment with Saunders DDS. Call us at (828) 277-6060 or request an appointment online today!

Take control of your gum health. Schedule your appointment with Saunders DDS now and say goodbye to gum pain. Call (828) 277-6060 or book online. Your smile deserves the best!