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Do Your Gums Hurt When You Brush Your Teeth?

Ouch! Do your gums hurt when you brush your teeth? There are many causes for having sore gums while we will give you many reason in this article always remember it's most important to consult with your dentist.

The first thing to consider, do your gums hurt all over your mouth (generalized)? Or is it just one location (Localized)?

Localized Irritants

Canker Sores

Canker sores or aphthous ulcers, are small lesions that develop on the soft tissues in your mouth or at the base of your gums. Identified by their white center with red edges, they can make your gums tender and sore to touch. There is no special treatment for canker sores, and they disappear within a week or two. Sometimes using a mouthwash containing hydrogen peroxide can help heal and sooth these areas.

Oral Devices

Sometimes braces, retainers, dentures, mouth guards or even eating a sharp piece of food can pull or rub against the gumline, creating cuts or abrasions which make them sore and painful over time. Once irritated, gums may flare up during brushing.

Abscessed Tooth

When you have an infection by the root of your tooth, it forms a pus pocket, or abscess. While not always painful, some abscessed teeth can cause the gums to swell, resulting in painful brushing.


If you smoke or use “smokeless” products, you’re more likely to have gum disease. Additionally, because smokeless tobacco is usually placed between the cheek and gum, it can cause more harm to your mouth than cigarettes. This can result in receding gums, as well as sores inside the mouth and on your gums. Not only does this make brushing painful, it can also lead to oral cancer.

Generalized Irritants


While it might seem unrelated, stress raises your levels of cortisol, which increases the likelihood of inflammation throughout the body – including your gums.


Women undergo hormonal changes during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, which can affect their gums. During these times, hormonal fluctuations create more blood flow to the gums, which can result in swollen, sensitive, or red areas that are irritated by brushing.

Brushing Incorrectly

As dental professionals, we encourage brushing twice a day, but to reap the benefits of good oral hygiene it needs to be done correctly. This means using a toothbrush with soft or even extra soft, nylon bristles and brushing gently with circular motions, instead of back-and-forth.

Gum Disease

Swollen, red, or tender gums can be signs of gum disease. Gum disease starts when plaque, a sticky, bacteria-filled film, builds up under and along the gum line. Plaque can cause infections that lead to gum disease and tooth decay, including gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. If left untreated, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease. Unlike gingivitis, periodontitis impacts the bones that hold your teeth in place. Without treatment, periodontitis can ruin the gums, bones, and tissues connected to your teeth.

Contact Us!!

Regardless of what is causing your irritation, pain while brushing your teeth isn’t the norm. If you experience red, swollen or bleeding gums, it’s important to give us a call right away. We'd love to see you!!

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