Gum is the soft tissue surrounding our teeth which is injured easily. Even if it is a small cut, you should not ignore it. Gum tissue is fragile and sensitive, so even a small cut feels quite painful.
Let us understand the scenarios where you could end up bruising your gum and what you can do to protect your gum while playing sports, brushing, etc.
Trauma to gum tissue
Cuts and bruises to the gum are common. At times, even harsh brushing can cause cut on gums. Also, incorrect flossing can cause injury to the gums. Sometimes, a person can have cuts due to injury while playing or due to some accident.
If it is a minor cut, you can treat your gums on your own at home but if your gum bleeds profusely, make sure to treat it as an emergency and visit the dentist or ER immediately.
Your gum may need stitches in case of profuse bleeding. In case you wear any dental appliance, the wires can bruise the gum if they break and the sharp end can even jab the gum tissue.
A minor cut can become a canker sore if it gets infected while healing. If you have a small cut, you can follow a few home remedies to prevent the wound from becoming infected.
Rinse your mouth
If you were eating something crunchy and cut your gum, take some water and rinse your mouth thoroughly. The water will help clean food particles from the mouth and wash the blood away and clean the injured area.
You can use a piece of gauze or a wet tea bag and press it against the bleeding site to control bleeding.
Eat ice chips
The cold will cause the bleeding blood vessels to constrict and stop bleeding. So, suck a few ice chips to stop bleeding, and the cold will take care of any associated pain too.
Ice also helps to reduce swelling. If you notice swelling, then ice pack will help reduce swelling. You can also swish your mouth with chilled water instead of eating ice chips.
Brushing and flossing technique
Use a medium or soft bristle brush and do not brush aggressively. Instead be gentle while brushing and make sure you are brushing your teeth surfaces and not your gums.
Also, flossing if not done correctly can injure the gums. You can always ask your dentist to show you how to brush correctly and the right technique to floss.
You can switch to an electric toothbrush if you want as they are more effective than manual brushing. (2)
Disinfect your mouth
To prevent infection of the wound, rinse your mouth with warm saline water or use any non-alcohol based over the counter mouth rinse.
Say no to spicy food
Spicy food when it comes in contact with the cut will cause pain. So you might want to steer clear of spicy food and hot beverages.
Eat vitamin-C rich fruits
Vitamin C will accelerate the healing process but avoid acidic fruits such as oranges. Instead eat papayas, cucumbers, and kale.
These home remedies will help you handle the situation but make sure to visit your dentist for a checkup if you feel the wound is getting worse and not healing. Especially for people with diabetes, even a small cut takes a longer time to heal.
When should you go to the dentist?
You should visit the dentist as soon as possible if the bleeding doesn’t stop or if the cut is deep. Also, if you notice pus oozing out or redness in the area after a few days then you should go to the dentist since redness, pus formation and swelling are signs of infection.
Your dentist will clean the area and stitch the gum tissue. Sometimes if the gum tissue is thin, you may need a gum graft in the injured region.
Prevention of cuts and bruises to gum tissue
You can follow some precautions which will help prevent injury to your gum tissue. These measures include
- Go for regular dental check-ups. If your teeth and gums are healthy, your recovery time will be less. Also, take good care of your overall health since many systemic diseases have an adverse effect on the gum tissue (such as diabetes increases the healing time of wounds).
- Be careful while driving and always wear a seatbelt. An accident more often than not involves a few broken teeth and laceration to the gum tissue which can require stitches.
- If you are a sportsperson, then always wear a mouth guard in the field. You never know when you may get hit or fall down and so you shouldn’t forget this essential appliance that can protect your teeth and gum from a heavy blow.
- If you have orthodontic braces or a retainer, then you should be extremely careful about what you eat. Hard food could cause the wires to snap and injure your gum tissue. In case of some wire is poking out, use orthodontic wax to protect your gum tissue from injury.
- In case you are a sports person and have an orthodontic appliance such as headgear then you need to be extra careful. Always remove your headgear before playing, wear a mouth guard and shield your face with a face gear if possible. Wear a helmet while playing sports whenever possible. (1)
- If you wear removable dentures, then the edges of the denture can cause bruising if they are sharp. In case you feel that your denture is the cause of injury to your gum tissue then visit your dentist and get the problem fixed.
Over to you
Don’t scrub your teeth, instead be gentle while brushing. Minor cuts in the gums tend to heal on their own, but if someone is immune-compromised, then even a small cut could cause significant harm.
Don’t take cuts on the gum lightly especially if you have diabetes.