Gum pain can cause serious discomfort for patients, and given the consequences of inflamed gums and gingivitis, it’s natural for people to panic when they experience it. At the same time, minor gum pain is nothing to panic about, and there are some OTC options that can help relieve it. In this article, we’ll also cover the circumstances where you should forego the OTC treatments and head to the dentist. Let’s take a closer look at how to alleviate gum pain.
Dentists and health officials are generally serious about gum pain because it can signify a deeper problem like gingivitis or even periodontal disease. However our gums are just like other parts of our body, sometimes they get mildly irritated. This is caused by a variety of situations. First and foremost you may be brushing too hard. This is generally the most common reason gums become irritated or inflamed. If you have seasonal allergies or are experiencing an allergy attack, the pressure of the nasal cavity pushing down on the nerves in your teeth and gums can cause pain as well. Patients who wear dentures often experience gum pain because their dentures aren’t fitting quite right. Even those with braces can feel pain in their gums that is relatively normal.
Pregnant women or any woman experiencing mensuration or menopause can also experience pain in their gums. This is tied to hormonal cycles and is generally normal, however pregnant women should visit the dentist more often and be especially vigilant if any gum issues arise. Pregnancy can be especially trying on a woman’s gums, and for a more complete guide we recommend Dental Health During Pregnancy.
Aside from the scenarios we listed above, there are times when gum pain isn’t normal and requires professional attention. Fortunately there are some clear warning signs that can help you determine whether or not you need to head to the dentist right away. First, any extended gum pain, especially something that lasts a week or more, should be checked out. If you’re gums are bleeding regularly or they seem very swollen and the swelling doesn’t subside, then this is another sign you should make an appointment. If it seems like you’re gums are receding, or more of your tooth is showing than before, more attention is required. Overly sensitive or loose teeth are another sign that something isn’t quite right with your gums. These symptoms aside, let’s look at some OTC options that will help alleviate gum pain.
If you’re brushing too hard or simply experiencing minor gum pain, you don’t just have to grin and bear it. First and foremost we recommend going out and getting the brush with the softest bristles you can find. And no don’t worry, it will still clean your teeth just as well as a stiffer brush. You will also want to pay close attention to how you brush. If you’re pressing the brush too hard into your gums or teeth, you could be causing irritation and even damage. Another point of caution comes for those that whiten their teeth regularly, especially with stronger bleaching agents. It is natural for these agents to cause gum irritation, but it will subside after you take a break from applying whitening agents to your teeth. If problems with whitening agents continue, consult your dentist.
Changing or temporarily modifying your diet can also help with gum issues. Alcohol and overly spicy or salty foods can irritate your gums, especially if you’re ingesting them regularly. Switch to a mild diet for several days and see if this makes a difference. Remember some mouthwashes have alcohol in them, and in this case you will want to switch to an alcohol-free alternative.
In addition to changing your brushing and dietary habits, there are other ways to alleviate gum pain. First lukewarm salt water can help wash away irritants and calm any irritation. Make sure to practice moderation however, as we just learned too much salt can have the opposite effect on your gums. And OTC painkiller is a good option when the pain gets out of hand. There are other items you can pick up at the store as well. Specifically they make gels that can provide instant relief for gum pain. However, just remember if you’re relying on these gels more than a couple days at a time, then something else could be wrong and it’s time to see your dentist.
Your gums are a very important part of your mouth, and you should always pay attention to the signs they are giving you. If your gums are unhealthy and you allow tartar to build up around your teeth, you put yourself at risk of losing your teeth later on in life. Gum health also impacts other important factors like the health of your heart. So don’t mess around with gum pain, if you’re experiencing any of the warning signs, or simply have longstanding gum pain, contact Grace & Leedy Family Dentistry today for a checkup.