Why Your Gums Hurt When Brushing Your Teeth

Do your gums hurt when you brush and floss? Is there blood in your toothpaste when you spit into the sink? This usually means one of two things—either you’re being too rough when you brush and floss, or you’re developing gum disease. To rule out other more serious problems, be sure to visit your dentist. Otherwise, explore these solutions to help prevent your gums from hurting when you brush your teeth.

When Your Gums Hurt Because of Rough Brushing and Flossing

It’s easy to brush too hard when you’re trying to be thorough. However, you can easily irritate your sensitive gum tissue if you scrub aggressively. Here’s how to clean your teeth while protecting your gums:

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Brush in gentle, circular motions.
  • Consider switching to an electric toothbrush.
  • When flossing, follow the curve of your teeth and avoid snapping the floss against your gums or using a sawing motion.

When Your Gums Hurt Because of Gum Disease

Mild gum disease, known as gingivitis, starts when a sticky film of bacteria called plaque builds up along the gum line. Ignoring gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease and, eventually, severe periodontitis. If your gums are swollen, red, irritated, and hurt when you brush, talk to your dentist about starting treatment.

Other Reasons Why Your Gums Hurt

There are many other potential causes of painful gums, including:

  • Canker sores
  • Tooth abscesses
  • Tobacco use, including cigarettes, vaporizers, and chewing tobacco
  • Hormonal changes during puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and menopause
  • Thrush, a type of yeast infection
  • Ill-fitting oral devices, including braces, retainers, dentures, and mouthguards
  • Chemotherapy drugs

How to Sooth Sore Gums

In addition to brushing and flossing more gently, treating gum disease, and tackling other causes of painful gums at the source, try these tips to soothe your sore gums:

  • Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater.
  • Rinse with mouthwash containing hydrogen peroxide.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • Apply numbing gel to the tender area.
  • Avoid spicy or acidic foods to avoid further irritation.
  • Eat yogurt with live cultures to balance the bacteria in your mouth.

Discuss Your Symptoms with Your Dentist

If your gums hurt or bleed for over a week, and your attempts to treat the problem at home aren’t working, it’s time to contact your dentist. A professional teeth cleaning can remove the stubborn plaque irritating your gums. Your oral hygienist may also perform a deep-clean called root planing and scaling if you have gum disease.

Don’t ignore painful gums—stop by Park 56 Dental in NYC to discuss your symptoms with our dentist. We can examine your gums and teeth and recommend the proper treatment. Our office has been voted the best dentist in New York, with over 20 years of experience serving the 10022 zip code area, so you can trust us to take great care of your smile! Call us at (212) 826-2322 to set an appointment today.