Are you experiencing sore gums? Sore gums has a variety of different causes – ranging from dental problems to nutritional deficiencies. If you’re having mouth pain of any kind, it’s important to find the cause – and a solution. What causes sore gums?
Sore Gum Causes – Gingivitis Tops the List
The most common cause of sore gum is gum disease, or gingivitis. Although gingivitis may be pain-free, as it progresses the gums become sore – particularly when brushing the teeth. Other symptoms of more advanced gum disease are bleeding when brushing the teeth, red gums, bad breath, and an unpleasant taste in the mouth. If untreated, gingivitis can progress to peridontal disease and tooth loss. Peridontal disease also causes low grade inflammation which increases the risk of heart disease. If you’re having sore gums – particularly if they’re bleeding, see a dentist right away.
Causes of Sore Gums – Dental Problems
If a discrete area of the gum is sore, it could be a dental abscess. The pain of a dental abscess is usually localized to the area just under the abscessed tooth. An abscess is usually quite painful and won’t go away on its own. You’ll need antibiotics to treat the infection, and most likely, a root canal or tooth extraction to get the infection under control. An impacted wisdom tooth can also cause gum pain in a localized area.
Sore Gum Causes: Vitamin Deficiency?
Diffusely sore gums can be a sign of a vitamin deficiency. Three vitamin deficiencies that cause sore gums are lack of vitamins B12, vitamin C, or vitamin K. Vitamin B12 deficiency may also be associated with a red, beefy tongue and bleeding gums – and can lead to permanent neurological damage if not treated. Vitamin C and K deficiencies also cause the gums to bleed. If your gums are diffusely sore, see your doctor to rule out vitamin deficiencies. Don’t try to treat it yourself.
Other Causes of Sore Gums
A painful apthous ulcer, or canker sore, causes a discrete area of the gum to be painful, and if you look closely, you can usually see the characteristic blister. Other causes include medications, particularly cancer chemotherapy drugs, and eating poisonous plants or mushrooms. In children, a condition called hand, foot, and mouth disease causes gum soreness, fever, skin rash, and mouth blisters. Sometimes allergic reactions to medications are responsible for sore gums.
The Bottom Line?
Sore gum can be a sign of serious dental disease or a nutritional deficiency – among other causes. If your dentist gives you a clean bill of health, follow up with your doctor to get a diagnosis. This is a symptom you don’t want to ignore.
Merck Manual. Eighteen edition.