My Gums Hurt When I Brush My Teeth. What Does This Mean?

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Gums Hurt When I Brush My Teeth

My Gums Hurt When I Brush My Teeth. What Does This Mean?

If your gums hurt when you brush your teeth, it generally means one of two things: you’re being too rough when brushing and flossing or you’ve developed gum disease. Either way, it’s fixable.

Note: To rule out anything more serious going on with your gums, please get a professional examination and discuss your symptoms with your dentist.

Rough Brushing and Flossing

In an effort to get your teeth as clean as possible, you may be brushing too hard. While it may seem that your teeth can take the rough treatment, your delicate gums cannot. And, actually, brushing too hard can damage the enamel of your teeth, too.

Here are some tips to protect your gums AND get your teeth sparkly clean:
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles. They clean just as well and are safer for the health of your gums and teeth than the medium or hard bristles.
  • Brush with gentle circular movements instead of harsh back and forth. This will remove plaque without irritating your gums.
  • Be gentle with floss, too. Follow the curve of your tooth and gently work the floss in between teeth rather than forcing it straight down onto the gums.

Gum Disease

Gum disease — both the milder gingivitis and the more serious periodontitis — is caused by bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria can cause your gums to be irritated, painful, swollen, red, or even bleed.

If the pain you’re feeling in your gums when brushing is caused by a case of gum disease, how you treat it will depend on how far it has progressed. Your dentist can give you a treatment plan once they examine your teeth and gums and diagnose how severe your case is.

Discuss Your Symptoms with Your Dentist

At your next appointment, tell your dentist about the pain you’re feeling when brushing your teeth. In the meantime, switch to a soft toothbrush and be more gentle when brushing and flossing to see if that helps.

Even if the pain gets better, tell your dentist about it so that if it is a mild form of gum disease, you can treat it before it gets worse.

We’re Here to Help

We’re here to help you keep your smile beautiful and healthy. We're happy to discuss how to brush your teeth without hurting your gums at your next appointment. Just let us know what you're concerned about.