What to do if you have Sore Gums

Sore Gums
Man with Sore Gums

At Thames Street Dental, we often have patients who enquire about their sore gums, and many wonder whether they are something to worry about, or if they need an emergency dentist appointment for a dental examination.  In this blog post we will help patients understand a little more about why gums can be sore, and what to do.

What should healthy gums look like?

Healthy gums should look pink and firm. They may be darker around the sides of the mouth and lighter around the teeth. Some people may have slightly lighter or darker gums to begin with. They should not bleed when you brush them or when you use floss.

My gums are sore… do I have gum disease (Gingivitis)?

Gingivitis is the clinical term given to a mild form of gum disease. It typically presents as red, or purple swollen gums which bleed easily when touched. Persistent bad breath (halitosis) or a bad taste in the mouth are further signs of the presence of gum disease. If the gums seem to be pulling away from the teeth, or alternatively, if they are very inflamed and are making the teeth look shorter – then this may be another sign of gum disease being present in the mouth.

Why can I see white areas on my gums?

Plaque build-up in the mouth and along the gum line can cause the gums to appear white. Dental plaque is a film of sticky bacteria that can form around, or in between your teeth after you eat or drink anything. If the plaque is left around the teeth for a certain period of time, it can form harder deposits known as calculus or tartar. Plaque build-up can lead to bad breath, bad taste and over the longer-term could lead to gum disease, which in turn can cause loose teeth and in severe cases even tooth loss.

How can I practice good oral hygiene?

To prevent gum disease and reduce plaque build-up, you should be practicing good oral hygiene at home. It is very important to not only brush your teeth, but yours gums as well (which a lot of people forget to do). As part of your daily oral hygiene routine, you should be brushing your teeth and gums twice a day using a soft brush and a fluoride toothpaste. Flossing and using interdental brushes to clean in between your teeth will also help remove plaque deposits and food debris.

How can I treat my sore gums?

If you have sore gums, we recommend having them checked by a dentist in order to determine if gum disease is present and obtaining tailored advice as how to best treat it. It may be that a hygiene treatment is advised to remove any plaque and tartar build up – allowing you to clean your gums more efficiently and easily at home.

How can I make my gums healthier?

There are a number of things we recommend to make your gums healthier, and to look after them as well as possible:

  • Use an electric toothbrush; it really makes the job easier
  • Brush your teeth thoroughly, at least twice a day
  • Use a tongue scraper
  • Floss daily
  • Massage your gums; some newer, more expensive toothbrushes which stimulate your gumline when you brush, but it is possible to do with less expensive ones too
  • Use mouthwash and toothpaste which is designed for receding gums
  • Visit a Dentist at least twice a year for a dental examination and hygiene (scale and polish) appointment to remove plaque

If you believe you may have gum disease (gingivitis), or if you have any concerns about your teeth or gums, and would like to discuss it with a Dentist, please contact us and we will be happy to assist. We regularly reserve slots for Emergency Dentist appointments to ensure that we can accomodate dental emergencies.