Gum pain

Gum pain relief and causes

Gum pain can manifest in different ways. Some people experience gum pain in a single area of the gums, while others suffer from gum pain throughout their mouths. If you don’t take good care of your gums, they can deteriorate, become inflamed, infected, cut or even suffer from disease.

While there are many causes for tooth and gum pain, the treatment for most causes is pretty standard. Implementing an effective oral hygiene routine will most often help improve the health of your gums.

What is gum pain?

Gum pain is an annoying issue that happens for a number of reasons.

It can be caused by something as simple as brushing too hard, having canker sores, or wearing dentures, retainers, or braces.

For women, it may be caused by hormonal changes, pregnancy, or menopause, and can happen around the time of their period.

Other times, gum pain may be a sign of a more serious oral health issue like thrush, gingivitis, or periodontitis.

What Causes Swollen Gums?

Swollen gums are commonly caused by –

  • Plaque and tartar in your mouth can lead to gum swelling (Gingivitis)
  • When the gingival infection progresses, gum swelling is sustained in the mouth (Periodontitis)
  • Viral or fungal infections
  • Irritation due to dental fixtures
  • Pregnancy
  • Allergies and sensitivity to dental products or food
  • Gum injury

Symptoms For Swollen Gums

Some of the common symptoms that come with this condition include –

  • Bleeding of the gums
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Pain
  • Increase in the gaps between the teeth
  • Bad breath

Home Remedies To Get Rid Gum Pain

If your only symptom is gum pain, try these treatments at home:


Take a fresh bag of tea and steep it in boiling water for up to 5 minutes, as you do to make tea. When the tea bag is cool enough to touch, apply it directly to painful gums for at least 5 minutes.

Choose a tea high in astringent tannins, such as black tea, green tea, or even hibiscus tea. Or choose a tea that contains an anti-inflammatory herb — ginger and chamomile are popular examples.

The anti-inflammatory herbs will soothe, while the tannins will absorb anything that irritates the gums.

Homemade dental spray

Dilute essential oils into a spray. For this treatment, use a small clean spray bottle that has never had any other product inside it.

Fill the bottle with water, and add about five drops of essential oils of choice per ounce of carrier oil. Shake and spray lightly on your gums as needed.

Never let essential oils touch the skin without being diluted in a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil. Also, never swallow essential oils. Swish with water after and spit it out.

Oils like peppermint, oregano, and clove have natural pain-relieving, inflammation-reducing, and circulation-boosting properties.

Herbal poultice

Certain herbs and spices can be turned into home remedies for gum inflammation and pain.

Clove powder and Spilanthes are both analgesic (pain-relieving) herbs. They have been used as alternative oral pain relievers for a long time. An anti-inflammatory powdered herb like turmeric may also help.

To use this treatment, mix the powdered herb of choice with a little warm water until you have a paste.

Apply the paste directly to your gums until pain subsides, and then rinse your mouth with water.

Apply as often as needed.


Try either a hot or cold compress to help reduce pain.

For a hot compress:
Heat water to a tolerable temperature (not boiling). Soak a clean cloth in the hot water, and then squeeze out the excess.

Gently press the warm, damp cloth to your face near the area where your gum pain is occurring (not directly to your gums).

For a cold compress:
Wrap an ice pack in a clean cloth and apply it in the same way as above.

Use either method until your pain subsides, or alternate between hot and cold until any swelling and inflammation die down.

Saltwater rinse

Warm 1 cup of water on the stove (not to boiling — just warm) and pour into a cool glass. Add 1 tsp. salt to the warm water and mix well.

Swish the mixture in your mouth, and then spit it out into a sink when finished (don’t swallow).

The salt will help prevent the growth of bacteria in your mouth and decrease the bacteria on your gums, which may be causing the swelling.

Rinse your mouth with warm salt water at least twice a day until the swelling subsides.

MIMI (Multi ion mask insert)

  • Can be worn with any facemask and provides additional heavy-duty protection.
  • Adult & Youth Sizes Available

Oral anesthetic gels

Medicated oral gels are available on the market. These contain natural and synthetic compounds that help numb and treat gum pain. Some even include pain-numbing compounds from botanicals like clove or Spilanthes.

Common over-the-counter brands include Orajel and Anbesol. Follow the instructions on the packaging.

Over-the-counter pain killers

Simple common painkillers and NSAIDs, such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), and ibuprofen (Advil) can help in a pinch.

If pain is stubborn and topical methods above (or others) aren’t working, give these options a try. You can use them on their own or in addition to topical home treatments.

For dosage amounts, follow directions on the bottle labels.

When to see a doctor

Gum pain is often an isolated incident that can be easily treated or relieved. In certain instances, gum pain can be a symptom of a bigger oral health issue. See your doctor or dentist if your gum pain:
  • is persistent or intense
  • interferes with eating or sleeping
  • is accompanied by other symptoms
Gum pain can also be a sign of other oral problems, such as:
  • Thrush. This oral yeast infection may include gum pain as a symptom. Talk to your doctor if you have gum pain as well as a yellowish coating on your mouth, throat, or inside of your cheeks — it may be thrush.
  • Gingivitis. This gum disease is characterized by swollen, painful gums that bleed easily. Go to your dentist if you have red, swollen, bleeding, and sore gums for over a week.
  • Periodontal disease or periodontitis. This condition follows untreated gingivitis. Head to your dentist as soon as possible if you’re experiencing gum pain on top of red, swollen gums; gum bleeding; receding gums; tooth loss; and abscesses.
If you have no other symptoms besides gum pain, try being gentler when you’re brushing or flossing your teeth. If you’re a woman, take note of whether gum pain happens during certain times of the month or if you’re experiencing pregnancy or menopause. These natural hormonal shifts aren’t uncommon in causing gum pain now and again.

Bottom Line

Natural remedies are one way to treat swollen gums. With simple ingredients you have right at home, you can not only treat the painful symptoms but also get a relief from the same.

But please understand that home remedies can only alleviate some of the symptoms of gum disease. When bacteria and buildup are underneath the gums, you need professional intervention. Home remedies can sure be used as an adjunctive measure to help combat gum disease, but they are not curative.

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