Our mouth is one of the essential parts of our body. It is also a place where troubles can start. In other words, our mouth is an indicator of ill health.
Often dental problems are focused on treating the tooth involved. However, many times, it is the gum that causes pain and discomfort.
Sore gums are a problem experienced by people of all ages for various reasons. One of the main culprits for sore gums is bad oral habits.
Bad oral habits include many factors like smoking, brushing habits, clenching and many more.
The result of these habits may not reflect on our health immediately, but with time it deteriorates the health of the gums and teeth.
The first step to put a stop to your sore gums and poor oral health is to identify the cause and correct it effectively.
To help you start a healthy life, we have listed some of the common oral habits that may impact your gums negatively.
What are gums?
Gums or gingiva are a part of the mucosal lining that lies over the maxilla and the mandible and supports the teeth in the mouth.
Unlike the oral tissue of the lips and the cheeks, gums firmly adhere to the underlying bone. This property of gums helps to resist the friction of food that passes over them. (1)
Healthy gums act as a protective barrier for the periodontal tissue underneath. Gums are usually coral pink in color and sometimes may contain dark melanin pigmentations.
What oral habits cause sore gums?
Soreness in gums can occur due to a variety of reasons. Usually, bad oral habits are the primary factors that impair the health of the gums and periodontal tissues.
Some of the common oral habits that cause sore gums may include –
1. Improper brushing habits
Brushing your teeth regularly twice a day is an excellent oral habit. However, the method of brushing makes a lot of difference.
Often people brush in a horizontal motion and apply too much pressure. Such habits work negatively and cause enamel abrasions and trauma to the gums.
Aggressive brushing causes gum recession. One of the signs to check if your applying too much pressure is by looking at your brush bristles. If the bristles look splayed and worn down, it indicates hard brushing habit. (2)
Gentle pressure allows the bristles to brush lightly around the teeth and the gums without causing any redness. An excellent way to change this habit is to use a soft bristled brush and apply gentle pressures while brushing.
2. Diet and eating habits
Crunchy food like cereals, chips, and popcorn tend to get stuck in the interdental areas and poke the gingival tissue.
Not only it causes constant discomfort and pain on biting, but it also pushes the sharp piece of food further down the gums and breaks down the periodontal fibers.
Hot and spicy food like pizza or a spicy hot curry can also irritate your gums. These food items often cause abrasions or burns on the oral tissue that takes time to heal.
A nutritious diet is also essential to maintain the health of the gums. A diet deficient in mineral and vitamins may cause gum diseases and periodontal problems.
3. Poor oral hygiene
Oral bacteria are the leading cause of gum pain. Gum attaches to the teeth firmly and protects the periodontal tissue underneath it. Poor oral hygiene increases bacterial overload in the gingival crevice and impairs this attachment. (3)
Failure to maintain good oral health allows the bacteria to do their job efficiently and destroy the gums and periodontal tissues causing some oral health issues.
Smoking is one of the most destructive oral habits of all time. It affects the teeth, gums, oral tissues and the bone.
Gum discoloration, recession, and disease are very common among smokers. Along with this, smoking deteriorated bone growth.
How do sore gums present clinically?
Sore and painful gums present as red or purple. The tissues are often ulcerated or inflamed. Tender gums bleed easily while brushing the teeth.
Such a condition, if left untreated, causes the breakdown of the protective attachments of the gingiva, bone loss and loose teeth that may eventually fall out.
In rare cases, gums may show ulcerated appearance often referred to as canker sores. Most common causes of canker sore may include –
- Food habits
- Vitamin deficiency
How can you repair sore gums?
The first line of defense to save yourself from the misery of sore gums is to follow a good oral healthcare routine and correct your oral habits.
A proper brushing technique is a key to good oral health. Brush your teeth twice a day in a circular motion while applying gentle pressure on the teeth.
Use fluoridated toothpaste to allow remineralization of the teeth.
An extra few minutes to floss daily can prevent gum diseases in the future. Floss at least once a day after brushing your teeth.
Use a mouthwash
An alcohol-free antibacterial mouth rinse adds the benefits of providing a fresh breath and neutralizing all the acids in the mouth.
The effect of mouth rinse stays for at least 6-12 hours and controls the bacterial overload during the day.
Eat a balanced diet
A nutritious diet that contains a mixture of proteins, vitamins, and minerals helps to minimize the consequences of gum problems. Fresh fruits and vegetables are an excellent way to start a healthy diet.
Water is essential for life. It is also necessary to maintain good oral health. Drinking water especially after eating food flushes out the food particles and bacteria that damage the gums. It also neutralizes the acids of the food in the mouth.
The best thing a smoker can do to save his life and maintain oral health is to quit smoking. Alternate methods like nicotine gums and patch can help to overcome the addiction. (4)
Stress is the prime factor for hormonal imbalance. The stress hormone, cortisol, impacts every tissue of the body especially the gums.
Relaxation therapies and meditations to control stress help significantly to maintain positivity in life as well as improve oral health and wellbeing. (5)
Take away message
Persistent gum issues have become a common problem among the population. One of the primary reasons for sore gums is bad oral habits.
Correcting habits can efficiently improve the health of the gums and quality of life.
Often we fail to understand the cause of our gum problems. Dental professionals can help to detect the reason accurately and guide you to correct them.
Regular dental visits also help to keep a check on the health progress of gums and prevent the oral tissues from any further damage.
So do you have an oral habit to overcome? Look at it today and work towards correcting it.