Why Do My Gums Hurt? Tips To Cure Gum Pain

why do my gums hurt

Gum pain can be caused due to many different reasons; not all of them need a visit to the dentist. If you have only one question in your mind, “why do my gums hurt” then you have come to the right place. 

Sometimes sore and tender gums are a sign of poor oral hygiene practices or brushing your teeth too hard. If you want to learn about some other common gum pain causes and home remedies to treat sore gums, then keep scrolling down.

What is gum pain?

Gum pain is caused by irritated gum tissue. Your gums can be damaged due to many reasons like brushing too hard, wearing dentures, canker sores, braces, or retainers. Some common sore gums caused in women are pregnancy, menopause, menstruation, or hormonal changes. 

Gum pain can be a sign of a serious oral health condition like gingivitis, thrush, or periodontitis.

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Why Do My Gums Hurt?

Sore gums are a common problem, especially in old age. Swelling, pain, or bleeding in the gums can be caused due to a variety of factors. Here are the most common gum pain causes

Rough brushing and flossing

Brushing and flossing teeth are a must for good dental hygiene. However, being overly aggressive, cleaning your teeth can damage and irritate gums, especially if you use a toothbrush with hard and stiff bristles. 

If your gums hurt after brushing, it’s a sign to switch to a soft bristle toothbrush. Also, you need to be less aggressive with your flossing and brushing techniques. 

Gum disease

If your gums are swollen, red, and bleeding, it is a sign of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Gum diseases are mainly caused due to poor oral hygiene practices. The most common type of gum disease is gingivitis, and severe gum disease is periodontitis. 

When identified, early gingivitis can be controlled and treated with good oral hygiene practices. To treat sore gum causes, brush and floss your teeth daily and use sugar-free mouthwash. If you do not treat gingivitis on time, it can progress further and cause tooth loss. 

Canker sores (mouth ulcers)

Another one of the reasons why your gums might hurt is due to mouth ulcers or canker sores. Canker sores are non-contagious, painful sores that can form on gums or anywhere in the mouth. Canker sores are mostly caused due to bacterial or viral infection. People with autoimmune diseases are more prone to developing mouth ulcers.

There is no specific medical treatment for treating canker sores as they usually disappear within a week or two. If your mouth ulcers last longer than three weeks, you must consult with a good dentist. 


Another common reason why your gums are sore is due to smoking cigars and cigarettes. Smoking smokeless tobacco or chewing snuff can cause even more harm to your teeth. To maintain healthy gums, stop using tobacco products.

Allergic reaction to dental products

Some people might get allergic to certain ingredients in toothpaste or mouthwash and can experience sore gums. If you think you are allergic to hygiene products, try to find out which ingredient might be responsible for the allergy. Start by eliminating one product at a time to identify the main ingredient behind painful gums.

Food allergy

Not many people are aware of the fact that food allergy can also be one of the causes of gum pain. If you are not allergic to oral hygiene products, you have a high chance of a food allergy. 

Elimination diets can help you identify what triggers your food allergy. You can stop eating a certain food for 30 days and try reintroducing it again to see if it affects your gum health. 

One quick way to determine the allergen is by visiting an allergist. They will help you identify the cause of the allergic reaction and also recommend a treatment.

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Eating hot food can cause burns on your gums and mouth. These burned areas can feel painful later. If you do not irritate the burned gums further, the gum tissues will be healed in a week or two.

Hormonal changes

Many women experience different changes in their bo0dy due to hormonal changes in different stages of life. 

  • Puberty- inflow of hormones during puberty increases blood flow to gums which can cause sensitivity and even swelling.
  • Menstruation- Some women experience sore gums before their period starts. This problem subsides after menstruation starts. 
  • Pregnancy- women experience sore, swollen, and bleeding gums from the beginning of the third month of pregnancy until the eighth month.
  • Menopause- women going through menopause have unusually dry gums, which can cause bleeding and be one of the reasons why your gums hurt.

Abscessed tooth

When you get an infection close to the root of your tooth, it can form an abscess. This can result in swollen and sore gums. It is best to visit a dentist in such cases; they will recommend the best possible treatment to treat the abscess.

Dentures and partials

Partials and dentures, when they do not fit in properly, can irritate the gums. Constant irritation can damage gum tissues and cause gum disease. Get your dentures properly adjusted by your dentist to eliminate gum pain.

Vitamin deficiency

To maintain good oral health, nutritional intake also plays a major role in dental hygiene practices. Vitamin deficiency can cause many diseases like scurvy which can cause sore and swollen gums along with many other symptoms. 

Eating a balanced diet rich in vitamin B and C along with other minerals is essential to beat vitamin deficiency. 

Oral cancer

Oral cancer appears as mouth sores that do not heal. It can start in your inner cheeks, gums, tonsils, and even tongue. If you have a sore in your mouth that hasn’t healed in more than three weeks, you should visit a dentist for a diagnosis. 

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Home Remedies To Treat Sore Gums

If you have been experiencing gum pain and do not have time to visit a dentist, you can try these below-mentioned home remedies for quick relief. 

Saltwater rinse

Saltwater rinse is one of the most common home remedies to ease gum pain.

 Warm 1 cup water on the stove and pour it into a glass. Add 1 tsp. Salt and mix well.

Swish this saltwater in your mouth and spit into the sink. Do not swallow the water. 

Salt prevents bacterial growth and also decreases any existing bacteria causing swelling on your gums. Use saltwater rinse at least twice a day to subside swelling. 


A hot or cold compress helps to reduce pain. 

Hot compress:

Heat water below boiling point. Soak a clean cloth in hot water and squeeze out excess. Press the warm cloth gently on your face where you experience gum pain.

For a cold compress:

Wrap ice in a clean cloth and apply it on the side of your face where you experience gum pain. 

You can use any of these methods to reduce pain or can even try to alternate between hot and cold compress to reduce inflammation and swelling. 

Herbal poultice

Certain spices and herbs can be used as a home remedy to treat gum pain and inflammation. Clove powder works great as a gum pain reliever. In some cases, turmeric may also show effective results due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Mix your choice of herb powder in warm water to make a paste. Apply this paste directly on the gums until the pain reduces, and rinse your mouth with clean water.

You can use this remedy as many times as needed.

Homemade dental spray

You can make your own dental spray at home to subside gum pain. For this dental spray, you will need an essential oil and a clean spray bottle.

Fill the spray bottle with water and add five drops of essential oil and carrier oil. Spray directly on your gums when needed. Do not let essential oils touch skin without diluting in a carrier oil like almond oil. Also, do not swallow; swish with water and pit it out.

Essential oils like oregano, peppermint, and clove have natural pain-relieving and circulation-boosting properties.


Teabags are also effective in relieving tooth pain. Take a fresh tea bag and steep for 5 minutes in boiling water. When the teabag is cool enough to touch, use it as a hot compress directly over the painful gum area and let it sit for at least 5 minutes. 

Choose a tea with high astringent levels like green tea, black tea, or hibiscus tea. You can also use chamomile and ginger tea as they have anti-inflammatory properties. The anti-inflammatory herbs help soothe gums, and tennis absorbs anything that is irritating the gums.

Oral anesthetic gels

You can find many different oral gels for gum pain in the market. These contain synthetic and natural compounds to treat gum pain and numb the area. Some oral gels also contain pain-numbing compounds like clove.

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The takeaway

If you are wondering, “why do my gums hurt,” well, there can be plenty of reasons behind sore gums. Some gum pain causes can be avoided by following a healthy lifestyle and good oral hygiene practices. If you experience persistent swelling, pain, and sores on your gums for more than two weeks, you should visit a dentist to get the checkup done and identify any gum disease at the early stages for quick recovery.