Gum Problems (cont.)
In this Article
- Gum Problem Basics: Sore, Swollen, and Bleeding Gums Introduction
- Improper brushing technique
- Improper flossing technique
- Gum disease
- Canker sores
- Tobacco products
- Hormonal changes
- 7 tips to prevent sore, swollen, and bleeding gums
- Find a local Doctor in your town
Causes of Sore, Swollen, and Bleeding Gums: Hormonal Changes
Some women find that they experience gum problems during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. The increase in hormones during puberty can heighten blood flow to the gums, making them red, swollen, and sensitive. For women with menstrual gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen, and more likely to bleed shortly before each menstrual period. These problems typically subside after the period begins. Pregnancy gingivitis typically starts in the second or third month of pregnancy and continues through the eighth month, causing sore, swollen, and bleeding gums. The use of oral birth control products may cause similar gum problems. Though uncommon, some women going through menopause may find that their gums become extremely dry and therefore sore and likely to bleed.
7 Tips to Prevent Sore, Swollen, and Bleeding Gums
1. Brush your teeth at least twice each day. Make sure you follow proper brushing technique. If you're not sure what to do, ask your dentist or dental hygienist for a quick lesson at your next appointment.
2. Floss daily. It doesn't take more than a few minutes, but flossing may be the most important thing you can do to prevent gum problems now and in the future.
3. Eat a well-balanced diet. A balanced diet, including plenty of vitamin C and calcium, may minimize the likelihood of experiencing gum problems.
4. Drink plenty of water. Drinking water, especially after eating, can help wash food off your teeth and make it less likely that bacteria will form gum-damaging plaque.
5. Say no to tobacco. If you smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products, try to quit.
6. Be cautious about extremely hot or cold foods and beverages. When you're experiencing gum problems, you may find you're more comfortable consuming lukewarm or cool foods and beverages.
WebMD Medical Reference
American Academy of Periodontology: "Gum Disease: What You Need to Know."
FDA: "Fighting gum disease: How to keep your teeth."
National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, "Periodontal (gum) disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments."
CDC: "Oral Health: Preventing cavities, gum disease and tooth loss."
University of Maryland Medical Center: "Oral Health: Brushing and toothpaste."
American Dental Association: "Common mouth sores."
American Cancer Society: "What about sore mouth, gum and throat problems?"
Reviewed by Matthew Hoffman, MD, on July 10, 2008
Last Editorial Review: 8/12/2008
Viewers share their comments
- Submit »
- Submit »
WebMD Oral Health
Get tips for a healthy mouth.