Gum Problems Basics: Sore, Swollen, and Bleeding Gums

gum problemsWhen you consider about dental care, all your focus will be on preventing teeth problems, especially the cavities. However, it is also important to consider the gums and gum problems. Your gums play a principal role in dental health and overall well-being as well.

In many cases, bleeding and swollen gums are symptoms of gum disease. There are also many more factors responsible for causing gum problems. Whatever may be the cause, there are measures to prevent and lessen the gum decay and discomfort.

Factors Causing Gum Problems – Sore, Swollen and Bleeding Gums

Improper Brushing Technique

You might be tempted to brush your teeth vigorously in a quest to keep them clean and healthy. The gums are so sensitive that hard brushing can damage them badly. Therefore, it is very important to choose a soft bristled brush, especially with nylon bristles. Do not opt for a medium or hard bristles as they damage the teeth enamel and cause swollen and red gums.

While brushing, make sure that you use circular gentle motions to clean and massage the teeth and gums. Do not use back and forth motion as it can irritate and damage the gums, turning them sore.

Improper Flossing Technique

Flossing is very important in oral hygiene as it helps to remove the plaque from places where the brush cannot reach. Make sure you gently floss the areas so that the gums doesn’t swell or bleed. Carefully slide the floss up and down, following each tooth’s curve.

Gum Disease

About more than ¾ th of adult population of America over the age 35 are affected with gum disease. Most of the people have milder form; gingivitis and nearly 5%-15% of population have severe from, periodontitis.

When you don’t practice proper oral hygiene, the bacteria present in the mouth acts on the acids (formed from foods) and form plaque over the teeth. These bacteria also cause gums to become inflamed, swollen and bleed.  In the initial stages of gum disease, the inflammation will not be painful and also it can be healed and reversed if diagnosed early. When this initial form of gum disease is not detected and treated, it can lead to eventual tooth loss. Seek a medical attention when you notice the following symptoms which may associate with gum disease.

  • Formation of pockets in between teeth and gums
  • Misaligned bites
  • Gums bleed during or after brushing the teeth
  • Shifting or loose teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Bad odor or bad breath
  • Swollen and tender gums

Gingivitis progresses into periodontitis, a condition in which the inner gum layer and bone are loosened, pulling away the teeth and forming pockets. This leads to swollen and painful gums which bleed profusely.

Canker Sores

Canker sores or mouth ulcers are other common factors for sore, swollen and bleeding gums. These sores also develop on the gums and they have a whitish center with red edges. You can either experience one canker sore or multiple sores at a time in the mouth. Research did not find the exact cause for these sores; however, they may be caused by viral or bacterial assistance. Those with autoimmune disease are also likely to suffer from gum problems caused by canker sores.


Chemotherapy has got several side effects, among which sore, swollen and bleeding gums is also the common side effects. Cancer affected patients while undergoing chemotherapy may suffer from stomatitis, which causes painful sores on the gums and whole mouth.

Tobacco Products

Cigarettes and other tobacco products cause extreme damage to the gums and smokers have greater chance to develop gum diseases than non smokers. Smoking habit causes many problems from painful to bleeding gums.

Hormonal Changes

Women experience most of the gum problems during puberty, menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause. The high hormone levels at these stages increase the flow of blood to the gums, making them swollen, red and sensitive. During menstrual cycle, the gums turn swollen, red and bleed lightly. And these symptoms subside once the period starts. During pregnancy, gum problems develop during second or third trimesters and remain till eight month. Use of oral contraceptives also causes gum problems. Few women during menopause stage experience dry gums which sore and bleed heavily.

Care / Preventive Tips for Gum Problems – Sore, Swollen and Bleeding Gums

Brush twice a day – Follow proper brushing methods. Use a soft bristled brush and brush twice a day. Avoid vigorous brushing as this can damage the gums badly.

Floss everyday – Flossing is the next important thing to brushing. It will not take much time and daily flossing will help prevent gum problems in the future.

Maintain a healthy diet – A well balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin C helps in reducing the risks of gum problems.

Drink more water – Drink water, especially after eating. This helps to wash off the food substances from the teeth and gives less chance for the bacteria to form plaque.

Avoid tobacco – Try to quit the habit of smoking and using tobacco products as they are the major factors in causing sore, swollen and bleeding gums.

Be aware of what you eat and drink – When you are likely to experience gum problems, be cautious about eating and drinking. Avoid chewy, hard foods and likewise avoid hot or cold beverages. Consume soft foods and lukewarm drinks.

De-stress – Being highly stressed increases the levels of cortisone hormone, which increases the likelihood of inflammation of the body, including the gums.