When we think of oral hygiene, the primary focus is on the teeth, isn't it? When we smile our teeth should be all shiny, white as snow, the alignment of our teeth should be in order, the jaw line should be perfect, there should be no cavity, and what not!! Do we really take care of our gums as much as we ideally should? Most people think that taking care of the teeth will make the gums healthy automatically. But to your surprise, this statement doesn't always stand true! Painful gums can be the first symptom of one of the many potential gum diseases and severe dental health problems. Not only this, many other health conditions like pregnancy, menstruation, canker sores, etc., can also cause painful, swollen and bleeding gums.
Causes of Pain in the Gums
The reason behind suffering from painful gums can be within or outside our lifestyles. Knowing the causes would not only help in fighting with the problem, but also in preventing the problem of painfully inflamed and bleeding gums in the future. The causes are mentioned below.
Poor Oral Hygiene: Call it being lazy or being busy, but we do tend to skip flossing and brushing our teeth twice a day because of the simple fact that, they are not giving us a hard time now, so we think that we will floss tomorrow, and tomorrow never comes until one fine day we wake up and realize that "OMG! I have swollen painful gums!" Moral of the experience, follow a good oral hygiene.
Improper Diet: If you don't consume a proper diet, then deficiency of certain vitamins like Vitamin K and Vitamin C can lead to various gum diseases and infections. Scurvy is one such example. Make sure you consume adequate amount of calcium and avoid tobacco and alcohol related products. Drinking lots of water will help wash away the food stuck on the teeth and gums and prevent plaque formation.
Hormonal Changes: Many a time, hormonal changes in the body lead to pain in the gums and teeth. This should not be taken lightly as it has been noticed that pregnant women suffering from gum problems can give birth to a premature baby. Hormonal changes also take place during menstruation, puberty, and menopause. Due to these changes, many people experience this problem during these phases of their life. The pain and swelling subsides after the phase is over.
Ill-fitting Dentures: If you are wearing the same denture since a very long time, or if you are wearing ill-fitting dentures, then that can lead to serious gum problems and is a definite cause of painful gums with swelling and bleeding because they can irritate your gums by constant rubbing and friction. So make sure that you get proper fitting dentures for yourself to prevent the unnecessary pain in the gums.
Leukemia: God forbid! But at times the causes of painful gums can be leukemia too. In fact, many patients taking treatment for cancer, like Chemotherapy, suffer from painful, swollen and bleeding gums, accompanied by ulcers in the mouth. This can be considered as a side effect of chemotherapy and can be considered as one of the causes of gum problems.
Gingivitis: Gingivitis is a gum disease that can cause the pain and swelling in the gums and if not treated properly it can grow out of proportion and cause a lot of trouble later on, developing into a worse condition known as periodontitis. So, don't let the plaque and food particles remain on your teeth and gums.
Periodontitis: As I mentioned earlier that if gingivitis is allowed to grow and left untreated, it can grow up to periodontitis which is the next stage of gingivitis. In this stage the plaque is formed into tartar which needs a dentist attention in order to be removed. If not then the tartar creates a gap between the teeth and the gums due to which a pocket is formed, allowing the bacteria to grow and spread. Once you reach at this stage then you can't take things in control, you will have to seek the help of a dentist. Periodontal disease like this can lead to shrinking of gums, mouth abscess, jawbone infection and teeth loss.
Reaction to a Prescribed Drug: Many a time, pain and swelling in the gums can result from consumption of some drugs which tends to react and results in the pain. Anti-depressant medicines, Dilantin, phenobarbital, are a few examples. Even oral birth control pills can cause a side effect in the form of gum problems.
Reaction to a Toothpaste or Mouthwash: Pain can also be a result of some allergic reaction towards a toothpaste or mouthwash that you have used. Even improper brushing techniques and flossing can cause bleeding and painfully swollen gums.
Consequences of Painful Gums
Painful gums, if taken lightly and ignored, can lead to irreversible problems that you will have to deal with all your life! The following are some examples.
- Tooth loss
- Bad breath
- Heart stroke
- Pregnant women can give birth to premature babies
Remedies For Curing Painful Gums
Realized how bad it can be? There is a solution to every problem, including this! If you are suffering from pain in the gums and teeth, here are some remedies that can help you get some relief!
- One of the all time tested and effective remedy for painful gums is to gargle with lemon and salt water. Make sure the water is lukewarm. This proves to be very helpful in getting some relief if done at least twice on a daily basis.
- Watch what you eat!! Try to minimize the junk food and sugar and include your diet with nutritional food which is vitamin enriched.
- Maintain a proper dental hygiene!! Brush your teeth twice daily, be regular in flossing so that the left over food particles don't form plaque and tartar. This will prevent you from periodontal diseases.
- Use anti-bacterial mouthwash so that the bacteria which managed to escape from brushing and flossing are washed away!
- Visit your dentist on a regular basis, DON'T wait for the alarm to ring!!
- Massage your gums with clove oil on a regular basis as clove has natural contents which helps to keep the teeth and gums healthy. Keeping a clove in the mouth is also good.
- Some natural but effective oils like sage oil, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, lemon, and neem tree oil can also help.
- Application of dry ginger and a pinch of salt mixed together can also prove to be of help.
- Be well hydrated!! Drink lots of water, dryness in the mouth can also increase bacteria attacks.
- Control your lifestyle!! Avoid tobacco and alcohol.
- Don't stress yourself too much!! Studies have shown that taking too much stress increases the level of a hormone called cortisol which tends to increase inflammation on the gums.
So, these were some of the main causes and effective measures and cures for painful and inflamed gums, which you can adapt in your daily life to prevent gum diseases. I hope this article has proved to be useful. I wish you a healthy and painless smile, today and always!! :-)