Causes, remedies, and prevention
Every now and then, you may feel that your gums itch. Since it may not occur often, you are wondering what could be causing it. Itchy gums have several causes, and you will want to know why because it may mean you need to do something about it soon.
Itchy gums could indicate the start of gum disease. This is a rather common cause to this problem and it likely means that you have a plaque buildup on your gums and teeth. Plaque is that film that forms on your teeth every day. It is caused by a buildup of many kinds of bacteria that are naturally found in your mouth.
This bacterium makes acid whenever it comes in contact with sugar. It causes both cavities and gum disease. Brushing will normally remove plaque unless you leave it on for long periods of time – then it becomes tartar. At this stage, you cannot remove it with a toothbrush or floss. The harmful bacteria will hide in it and cause your gums to be irritated and then inflamed. This is early gum disease, called gingivitis.
Removing it at this stage is important. You can usually get rid of it at this stage by brushing twice a day and flossing. If you do not improve the care of your teeth, the gum disease will progress to become periodontitis. This will require the help of a dentist to remove it. It could become serious enough that your teeth will become loose and may even fall out.
If your gums are injured in an accident or other cause, it is possible that you could develop itchy gums. The itchy sensation will likely disappear as your gums heal. The injury may also be caused by grinding your teeth, or by frequent clenching of your teeth. Over time, this can damage the gums and cause them to itch in some people, and it may also lead to receding gums.
Many types of irritants could result in the development of gums that itch. It could be the result of seasonal allergies such as hay fever, or it could be from other irritants such as pets, dust, foods, etc.
If the symptoms primarily occur in your mouth and do not last long, it is probably a food allergy, but it may be accompanied by tingling or a rash. An allergy test may be needed to know which foods you are allergic to. An antihistamine will often bring itchy gums relief to a mouth allergy.
Changes in hormone levels may affect how your gums will feel. Girls or women going through changes in hormone levels may experience different sensations in their gums – including being itchy. Other symptoms in the mouth may be experienced during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, which could include bleeding gums, sensitivity, and gum disease. In most cases, the itchiness will stop when the hormones are back to normal.
Healing After Surgery
After you have had some dental surgery, such as wisdom tooth removal, you may get itchy gums. This is likely just a part of the healing process, but you do not want to scratch your gums at this time. It could loosen the clot and may lead to a dry socket – which you do not want because it is painful. For relief, you may find that rinsing your itchy mouth out with a warm saltwater solution will help.
If you are experiencing a dry mouth, that is, if you are not producing enough saliva, you may have itchy gums. Saliva is important because it helps wash away the bacteria and acid from your teeth and gums. If you do not produce enough saliva, you need to drink water to stay hydrated. Without enough saliva, the bacteria will multiply faster and produce more acid, causing cavities in less time and gum disease. This problem could be caused by medications, drinking coffee or alcohol (diuretics), or by drinking enough water.
In addition to the causes already mentioned, there are some more you may need to know about. This may include medications, sores in your mouth, teething, infections, oral herpes, and abscessed teeth.
Stopping the Itch
The primary way to stop the itching of your gums is to make sure that the plaque is regularly removed. You can do this by brushing at least twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing.
If you have itchy gums and you would like a dentist to look at it to ensure it is not gum disease, or if you want gum disease treatment, Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, can help you. His dental offices are in the Carrollton, TX, and Grapevine, TX areas and they accept most dental health plans. For a consultation or dental checkup, you can contact his office today at (817) 756-8578.