Gums sensitivity can take many forms. It can be irritation, redness, swelling or even bleeding. The patient who is devoted to oral care will sometimes panic, thinking that gingivitis has taken over their mouth.
The irony of this is that there are other causes of gum sensitivity besides gingivitis. Here are some of them, and some solutions.
Brushing too hard
Overbrushing is a common problem among people who have otherwise excellent oral hygiene habits. But cleaning your teeth isn’t like scrubbing your floor. Delicate gums and enamel should be treated gently. If you’re worried about getting your teeth clean enough,use gentle circular strokes to brush and spend more time brushing. Also, flossing every day will reach the places the brush can’t.
Also, use a soft brush and refrain from using a sawing motion during brushing.
Sometimes gum irritation is the ‘danger, Will Robinson!’ your gums shout out to alert you something is different. Whether it’s a piece of kale stuck between your molars or your mouth adjusting to a new night guard, or even dental glue from that temporary crown, gum irritation is your mouth talking back.
Some of the potential candidates for causing gum pain are braces, retainers, dental procedures, dental glue for temporary crowns, night guards, and dentures.
Some people find that acidic or spicy foods or products will cause gum irritation. One of these is the material in home tooth whitening kits. Acidic products damage both gums and enamel and are worth avoiding.
In the case of mouth appliances or dental procedures, gum irritation should abate within a couple of weeks. Some people seek relief by gargling warm salt water or taking NSAID’s to reduce pain and swelling.
We have talked before about how hormones can affect teeth and gums in specific groups, such as women and teens. Gum problems as the result of hormones can quickly lead to gingivitis unless aggressive oral care is implemented. However, ‘aggressive oral care’ is not synonymous with ‘hard brushing.’ The patient who appreciates this distinction can have significant success battling hormone gum pain, as brushing too hard can also cause gum pain.
A canker or other sores can occur anywhere on the tongue, lips, or gums. These sores only last a week or two, but if they last longer or don’t heal, it’s worth a follow up with your dentist to get it checked out.
It’s always crucial to pay close attention to gum sensitivity, bleeding, or pain. If the reason isn’t discovered and correctable by the patient in a short time, a visit to the dentist is necessary to make sure it isn’t something serious.
Meanwhile, your gums always appreciate your kindness! Use a soft toothbrush with gentle circular motions, replace your toothbrush every three months, avoid ‘cruel foods’ such as chips with sharp edges or those which cut the inside of your mouth, and call or visit us if you have any questions or problems. Your teeth--and gums--will thank you.
If you are having gum problems, or need a gentle, caring dental team, please call our office at (623) 362-2550. We’ll give you the very best dental care we can!