Bearing the responsibility for keeping our teeth safe and healthy, gums serve a very important role in our mouths. But many times we neglect our gums, both when it comes to caring for them and when it comes to noticing pain and sensitivity. Most people assume that gum sensitivity is caused by gingivitis, a mild and treatable form of gum disease. While gingivitis is common and could be the cause of your sore gums, here are three surprising causes for you to consider.
- Incorrect Brushing and Flossing
When it comes to brushing and flossing, harder is not better. Some people think if they brush really hard their teeth will be cleaner, but this is not the case. Brushing too hard can cause the gums to recede, making them sore and susceptible to more serious problems. Instead of focusing on brushing hard, focus on your technique, using short, gentle strokes to clean the teeth. If you are squashing the bristles, you are brushing too hard. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush can also help you to be more gentle on your gums.
Similarly, flossing too hard can cause gums to recede and become extremely sore. Keep in mind that if you just started getting into the habit of flossing your teeth, a little gum tenderness is to be expected. But once your gums are used to the flossing, they should not be sore. If they are, focus on your flossing technique and try to be gentler, moving the floss slowly back and forth, up and down. If you are regularly flossing and using the correct technique, your gums should not bleed or be sore after you floss.
- Hormonal Changes
It may surprise you to learn that changes in your hormones can cause gum sensitivity. This is especially common for women because of rapid hormone fluctuations during certain points of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause. Hormones, especially progesterone, affect how the body reacts to bacteria that enters your mouth, resulting in gum and tooth decay.
If you are experiencing gum sensitivity as a result of hormonal changes, your doctor may recommend you visit your dentist more often for a dental cleaning and checkup.
- Food Sensitivity
Acidic and sugary foods can damage and erode the gums, causing them to be sensitive and uncomfortable. Foods such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits are highly acidic and high in natural sugars and can make your gums sensitive. These foods can even cause canker sores on your gums and the inside of your cheeks if consumed too frequently. If this is happening to you, try cutting back on these kinds of foods and see if your sensitivity goes away.
If you are experiencing sensitive gums, make an appointment with us and we will work to get your mouth feeling healthy and pain free. In the meantime, consider these possible causes and see if you begin feeling better!