Gum pain is an inevitable part of life for most people, unfortunately. Some people experience sore gums more frequently than others, especially if they don’t keep up with regular dental hygiene.
However, that doesn’t make the experience any less bothersome. Sore gums can make you feel miserable and distract you throughout your day. Sometimes, it’s temporary pain, and sometimes it’s indicative of a more serious dental issue like gum disease.
Use this guide to learn 11 different ways to soothe your sore gums.
Different Methods to Treat Sore Gums
We know just how uncomfortable sore gums can be. Thankfully, you can use a variety of at-home methods to reduce your pain.
1) Salt Water Rinse
Salt water rinses are a classic way to help reduce gum pain. The salt helps get rid of the bacteria in your mouth and prevents more from growing. You can create a salt water rinse by warming up a cup of water (not boiling, just warm), then mixing in 1 teaspoon of salt to it.
Swish the salt water in your mouth and rinse for about 30 seconds, then spit it out into a sink. Be sure not to swallow it! You can use this rinse 2-3 times a day.
2) Take Over-the-Counter Painkillers
If you want to target the pain directly, you can use over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol (acetaminophen), Aleve (naproxen sodium), or Advil (ibuprofen). Be sure to take these pain relievers as directed— don’t take more than what is recommended on the label.
You can combine taking medicine with other at-home treatments on this list for maximum effectiveness.
3) Make a Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse
Hydrogen peroxide is pretty powerful. It can kill germs and is very effective in many dental applications. The easiest way to use it to treat gum soreness is to make a rinse.
Mix equal parts of water and hydrogen peroxide, then swish the solution in your mouth for about 20 seconds. Spit out the rinse in the sink, then rinse your mouth out with warm water.
You can also make a paste by mixing hydrogen peroxide with baking soda. You can apply the paste to your gums, then rinse it out after a minute.
4) Apply Oral Anesthetic Gel
You can find over-the-counter oral anesthetic gels at most drug stores. These gels temporarily numb your gums to relieve your pain. They’re also effective for canker sores or other tooth pain. Popular brands include:
- Benzocaine topical
Be sure to use the gel as directed according to the instructions.
5) Hot or Cold Compress
You can apply a compress on your face to help ease the gum pain. Either a warm or a cold compress will do. Cold compresses reduce swelling, while hot compresses increase blood flow.
Heat up a bowl of water in the microwave. Make sure the water is comfortably warm but not boiling. Soak a clean cloth in the hot water and wring out the excess. Gently press the damp cloth to your face where your gum pain is. Keep in mind that you’ll apply this to the skin on your face, not directly to your gums.
Grab an ice pack or a bag of frozen fruits or vegetables, and wrap it with a clean cloth. Place the ice pack over the area on your face where you’re feeling the pain. You can alternate between warm and cool compresses to reduce the swelling.
6) Essential Oil Dental Spray
Essential oils have many great uses when used sparingly. You can dilute essential oils into a spray. It’s best to use a small, clean spray bottle that hasn’t been used before.
Fill the spray bottle with water and add about five drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil. A “carrier oil” is an oil base used to dilute essential oils before they can be applied to the skin. Don’t skip this step, as it’s very important for your safety! The carrier oil can be:
- Almond oil
- Vegetable oil
- Coconut oil
- Any other nut or vegetable oil
Shake the bottle, so the oils and water combine. Then spray it onto your gums, swish with plain water, and spit it out. Effective essential oils to use include:
7) Use a Tea Bag
Tea can help when you’re sick, but applying the tea bag directly to your gums can help soothe gum soreness. Boil water and let the tea bag soak in the water for 5 minutes, like you would when making a regular cup of tea.
Place the tea bag on a plate to let it cool down for a few minutes. Then, you can place it directly on your sore gums.
You’ll need to use specific teas with astringent or anti-inflammatory properties like:
- Black tea
- Green tea
8) Rinse With Tea Tree Oil
In a similar vein to the essential oil spray, you can make a tea tree oil mouthwash by putting a few drops of tea tree oil into a glass of water and swishing it around. Be careful not to swallow it.
You can also find natural toothpaste that contains tea tree oil.
9) Make a Ginger Paste
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. It’s well-known for helping soothe stomach aches, but it can also soothe sore gums. You can crush a small piece of ginger and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to it to form a coarse paste.
Then, you can apply this paste to your swollen gums and leave it on for 10 minutes. Then, rinse your mouth out with clean water. You can apply this paste up to 2-3 times a day.
10) Get Your Vitamins
To help prevent sore gums from worsening, you’ll need to make sure you’re incorporating healthy vitamins into your diet, like calcium, vitamin C, and folic acid. You can take over-the-counter vitamin supplements or get these vitamins through foods like:
- Bell peppers
- Collard greens
Yum! Just keep in mind that eating strong citruses like oranges, limes, and pineapples can trigger your swollen gums and add to a burning sensation. If this is the case, a vitamin C supplement will work.
Soda, vinegar, and other acidic items can also irritate your already-inflamed gums. Additionally, popcorn and chips can get lodged under your gums and cause more swelling.
11) Pay a Visit to a Dentist
If your gums are hurting or bleeding for more than 1-2 weeks, you should make an appointment with a dentist. Bleeding gums can be a sign of gingivitis, which, if left untreated, can cause periodontal disease— a painful, serious condition.
Visit your dentist if the gum soreness persists for more than 2 weeks or if you are experiencing any of these symptoms:
- Bleeding gums
- Swollen gums
- Gums pulling back from your teeth
- Pain when you chew
- Sensitive teeth to hot or cold temperatures
- Loose teeth
- Dentures that don’t fit right
What Causes Sore Gums in the First Place?
There are a few things that can cause sore gums, but they all pretty much stem from poor dental hygiene.
Proper oral hygiene consists of brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and visiting the dentist for a professional cleaning every 6 months. Failing to keep up with this routine can cause sore gums. It can also lead to gum disease (gingivitis).
Gum disease is pretty much guaranteed to cause swollen, painful gums. Gingivitis occurs when bacteria in the mouth infects the gum tissue. Signs of gum disease include:
- Sensitive teeth
- Tender gums
- Bleeding gums
- Loose teeth
- Gums pulling away from teeth
Additionally, sore gums can be triggered by an abscessed tooth, which is the result of an untreated cavity. The bacteria infects the tooth, and it can cause a fever, swollen gums, and overall pain.
Both gum disease and cavities can often be prevented with proper oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist. If either of these issues is left untreated, they can quickly cause more serious issues like periodontal disease or an infected jawbone.
Other factors can increase the risk of developing sore gums and gum diseases:
- Medications causing dry mouth
- High-stress levels
- Crooked teeth that are hard to floss
Need Help With Sore Gums? Schedule an Appointment Today!
We hope these at-home methods help soothe some of your gum soreness. If the pain doesn’t subside after a week, there might be a more serious issue at hand. If you live in Minnesota, call Wayzata Dental to schedule an appointment.
Our skilled hygienists and dentists will create a treatment plan to get rid of your gum pain. We also offer teledentistry!