Sensitive gums not only hurt, but they could be a sign of something more serious.
Gums are perhaps the most overlooked aspect in almost everyone’s oral care routine, but maintaining healthy gums is extremely important. Gum tissue forms a protective layer around each of your teeth, making it your first line of defense against bacteria and infection. Unfortunately, the pink tissue protecting those pearly whites can be surprisingly delicate.
Simply put, gum sensitivity is when your gums are easily irritated by things like heat, cold, or moderate pressure. They may be sore, appear inflamed or even bleed. And though swollen gums, receding gums and tenderness are common symptoms of gingivitis, there are other possible (less serious) reasons for this discomfort. So before you freak yourself out with online forums full of dental horror stories, take a moment to reflect on what’s causing your gum sensitivity and how it can be remedied.
1. How You Brush
While you might think brushing harder results in a superior clean, too much pressure can actually erode gum tissue. It turns out effectively removing plaque and bacteria is less about force and more about brushing technique. If you tend to push too hard when brushing or just don’t know your own strength, you could be your gums’ worst enemy. Luckily, a simple change in your toothbrush could be the solution you’re looking for. Traditional nylon bristles can only be so soft, but the ISSA brush head is made of silky smooth silicone for the gentlest brushing experience possible.
Foods that are troublesome for teeth are just as likely to affect your gums. Specifically, acidic foods like sugary sodas and citrus are known to cause gingival tenderness. Consuming excessive amounts of acidic foods can damage and irritate the delicate gum tissue, so that recent 3-day lemon soda cleanse was probably a bad call for your poor gum line. Try eliminating acidic food and drink from your diet and see if things improve.
Fluctuations in hormone levels affect us in many ways, including making gums more sensitive—who knew, right? During pregnancy or menstrual cycles, hormonal powerhouse progesterone increases blood flow to the gums, making them more sensitive, and leading to an increased risk of gum disease for women. Fortunately, gum sensitivity caused by hormones should decrease on its own in accordance with your cycle or pregnancy.
If all of the above can be ruled out, a call or visit to your dental professional is a good idea to determine if your gum sensitivity is an indication of gingivitis (periodontal disease). Prevention is key when it comes to oral hygiene, so don’t forget to brush and floss twice a day!
Disclaimer: The information on this website and any related links are for general informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, contact a professional healthcare provider.
Katie Steadman is a native Texan roaming Asia with a penchant for writing, and solving sudoku puzzles at breakneck speed.