Gum pain: what are the possible causes and how to relieve it?
The gum pain are not uncommon: according to a recent survey conducted by the UFSBD and Pierre Fabre Oral Care *, 61% of French have gums that bleed "from time to time" - for 14% of respondents, they bleed even with each brushing!
"Pain in the gum should never be ignoredsays Dr. Christophe Lequart, dentist and spokesperson for UFSBD. It may seem minimal, we can say "it's nothing, just a little pain and blood in the mouth" but, in reality, oral diseases promote cardiovascular disease, increase the risk ofmyocardial infarction, increase the risk of preterm birth ... They could even play a role in the Alzheimer's disease."
In short, in case of pain in the gums, we do not leave hanging: we make an appointment at the dentist!
Pain in the gums: gingivitis
Pain in the gums often reveals the presence of gingivitis. This first stage of gum disease occurs when plaque (it is a saliva + bacteria mixture that forms after each meal) and tartar (this is calcified plaque) accumulate and attack the gum, which causes inflammation.
The symptoms of gingivitis are easily identifiable:
- the gum is red and swollen,
- the gum is painful (it is particularly sensitive to hot and cold),
- the gum bleeds on contact (when eating or brushing teeth).
"In case of gingivitis, only one solution: you must make an appointment with your dentist for a descaling"Dr. Lequart said, waiting for the appointment, we can also relieve the pain with a specific mouthwash (to buy in pharmacies): be careful, it does not solve the problem!
To avoid recurrence, it is essential to adopt a good oral hygiene :
- Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes,
- Use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft toothbrush,
- Do not forget to clean the interdental spaces with a brush, a water flosser or dental floss.
Gum pain: Periodontitis
When not treated, gingivitis evolves into periodontitis. This second stage of gum disease (sometimes called "tooth loosening") is the gradual destruction of the supporting tissues of the tooth - the ligaments and the bone.
The pain is caused not only by the inflammation of the gums, but also by the presence of dental plaque in the periodontal pockets, spaces that are created between the root of the tooth and the gingiva.
The symptoms of periodontitis resemble those of gingivitis:
- the gum is red and swollen,
- the gum is (very) painful,
- the gum bleeds (spontaneously, not only in contact),
- there is a tooth mobility (some teeth "move"),
- the gum gives the impression of retraction (impression of "long teeth").
"Again, it is essential to make an appointment with his dentist for scaling and surfacing, to remove plaque and tartar on the tooth surface and in the periodontal pockets, explains Dr. Lequart. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and then the area is disinfected with an antiseptic."
While waiting for the appointment, we can relieve the pain with a specific mouthwash (to buy in a pharmacy) or take an analgesic (paracetamol or ibuprofen, if there are no contraindications). But the visit to the dentist is absolutely essential!
"After periodontitis, it is essential to adopt a oral hygiene very rigorous with 3 daily brushings instead of 2adds Dr. Lequart. The cleaning of the interdental spaces is no longer optional, and must be done carefully with a brush."
My gum hurts: what if it was an abscess?
Gum pain can also be related to a gingival abscess, which occurs when food debris gets stuck between two teeth. In case of periodontitis, the abscess may even form in a periodontal pocket.
The symptoms of gingival abscess are the following :
- A sharp, localized pain that can radiate to the ear / neck,
- The gum is red and swollen (rather localized),
- Bad breath, an unpleasant taste in the mouth,
- Possibly fever (38-39 ° C), fatigue, feeling sick.
Once again, it is essential to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible!
Thanks to Dr. Christophe Lequart, dentist and UFSBD spokesperson.
* published in March 2019, conducted online with 22,969 respondents between December 2018 and February 2019.
Read also :
⋙ How to brush your teeth when you have fragile gums?
⋙ I bleed gums: what does it hide?
⋙ Menopause: painful gums increase the risk of cancer