Itchy gums: Causes, relief, and prevention

by | Oct 29, 2017 | Health - Allergies | 0 comments

There are many reasons why gums can itch, from an allergic reaction to issues with teeth. What are the possible causes, and are itchy gums an early warning sign that can help prevent other health problems?

Gums are the soft tissue surrounding the teeth that provide a seal around each tooth. Healthy gums are essential for protecting teeth, and itching is often a sign that bacteria have built up between teeth and gums.

Itchy gums are usually easy to treat, and good dental hygiene can prevent most problems.

In some cases, itching could be a sign of a more serious concern, such as gum disease, so a person should visit a dentist if symptoms persist.

Contents of this article:

Symptoms

Male dentist with female patient, looking at an x-ray of her teeth and gums.
If itchy gums are accompanied by consistent and unexplained bleeding, a dentist should be consulted.

Itchy gums can have a number of different causes, so other symptoms can help determine the exact problem:

  • Itching that also affects the roof of the mouth may be an allergy.
  • Red, irritated, or inflamed gums could point to the first stages of gum disease.

Gums that bleed lightly for a short time is common, such as when someone first begins flossing.

However, regular bleeding may be a sign of an underlying concern a dentist should check.

Possible causes

A common cause of itchy gums is a plaque buildup on the teeth and gums. Plaque is a sticky film found on teeth, which contains bacteria that break down some of the simple sugars found in food and drink.

If plaque builds up and stays on teeth for long enough, it can begin to harden into tartar, which cannot be removed with floss or a toothbrush.

Tartar below the gum line can cause gums to become irritated and inflamed. This early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis.

A mild allergic reaction can cause an itchy mouth. If someone has hay fever, they may also suffer from oral allergy syndrome (OAS), which causes itchiness or swelling of the mouth, face, tongue, or throat after eating raw fruit or vegetables.

The teeth and gums are sensitive to hormonal changes. For women and girls experiencing puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, hormone changes may cause itchy gums or increase the risk for gum disease.

If someone has injured their teeth, gums, or mouth, they may experience itching as cuts or lesions begin to heal.

Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding. Grinding can cause damage to teeth and gums, including wearing away enamel or receding gums.

A dry mouth can be a common cause of itchy gums. The body should...

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