What Can Cause Gum Pain?

The gums are vital tissues in the mouth and offer support and protection to the teeth. If you experience gum pain, it might be a sign of infection, injury, or irritation.

In many cases, gum pain is usually a temporary symptom, but in other cases, one might need dental treatment to avoid further complications.

Here, we look at what can cause gum pain, the treatment options, and how to prevent gum pain.

Causes of Gum Pain

The following are the possible causes of gum pain:

  • Gum Disease or Gingivitis: It’s a condition that results from the accumulation of bacteria below the gums, leading to inflammation and bleeding. If left untreated, gum disease can advance to periodontitis and result in loose teeth. Smokers are at a higher risk for gingivitis than non-smokers.
  • Canker Sores: They are tiny, painful ulcers that appear on the gums because of emotional stress, oral injuries, impaired immunity, or other underlying medical conditions.
  • Hormonal Changes: Fluctuations in hormones, particularly in pregnancy, can lead to swelling, bleeding, and pain in a person’s gums.
  • Injuries: Things that enter the mouth, including food can at times cause minor injuries or cuts to one’s gums. A person might also bite down on their gums accidentally, which can lead to pain and bleeding.
  • Improper Brushing or Flossing Methods: Vigorous brushing or flossing can at times lead to painful bleeding in the gums.
  • Tooth Abscess: Bacterial infections in the root of teeth can result in an abscess (pus-filled sac), which can cause swelling and pain in the gum. The abscesses can also be severe and spread to other body parts, so it’s crucial to see a dentist promptly.
  • Sinusitis: Infections in the sinuses resulting from bacteria or viruses can lead to swelling in the sinus cavity. People with sinusitis may also suffer from gum pain and toothaches.

Treatment Options

Treatment for a gum pain issue is dependent on the underlying cause. For instance, a dentist might suggest professional cleaning to eliminate plaque and tartar from a patient’s gums. They might also recommend an antibacterial mouthwash to kill excess bacteria and avert the future accumulation of plaque.

For severe gum disease problems, a dentist might recommend surgery to correct bone or gum loss brought on by the condition. At times, this can involve bone and tissue grafting to promote the development of new, healthy tissue.

Patients suffering from tooth abscesses might need a root canal treatment. In such a case, the dentist removes the infected tooth pulp and the abscess from the root. From there, he or she repairs and seals the ruined tooth.

Any gum pain caused by sinusitis typically reduces once the infection is healed. For bacterial infections, a medical practitioner might prescribe antibiotics.

How to Prevent Gum Pain

Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing gum pain and other dental health problems. You should:

  • Brush teeth twice per day using fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes.
  • Floss once per day.
  • Use a dental mouthwash every day.
  • Go for regular dental checkups at the dentist’s office twice a year.

Additionally, stopping smoking can also help to enhance the health of the gums. Smoking usually reduces blood circulation to the gums, which can impair healing and cause discomfort.

When to Consult a Dentist

Dentists have the training and experience to check for tooth decay and oral infection signs. It’s advisable for those with severe or persistent gum pain to consult a dentist for a thorough examination.

A person might also want to see a doctor if gum pain occurs together with any of the symptoms below:

  • Persistent Bad Breath
  • Bleeding Gums
  • Receding Gums
  • Loose Teeth
  • Discomfort When Chewing Food
  • Gum Redness
  • Sensitive Teeth


Gum pain can be caused by a variety of things, including gingivitis and infections. People experiencing gum pain should consider seeing a dentist to avoid further issues.