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There are many causes of gum pain — some more serious than others. However, if your only symptom is gum pain, home remedies can generally treat the pain.
Gum pain is an annoying issue that happens for a number of reasons.
It can be caused by something as simple as brushing too hard, having canker sores, or wearing dentures, retainers, or braces.
Explore these home remedies for quick gum pain relief. Make sure to also learn the difference between when you can safely treat your gum pain at home and when you should see a dentist.
If your only symptom is gum pain, try these treatments at home:
1. Saltwater rinse
Warm 1 cup of water on the stove (not to boiling — just warm) and pour into a cool glass. Add 1 tsp. salt to the warm water and mix well.
Swish the mixture in your mouth, and then spit it out into a sink when finished (don’t swallow).
The salt will help prevent the growth of bacteria in your mouth and decrease the bacteria on your gums, which may be causing the swelling.
Rinse your mouth with warm salt water at least twice a day until the swelling subsides.
Try either a hot or cold compress to help reduce pain.
For a hot compress:
Heat water to a tolerable temperature (not boiling). Soak a clean cloth in the hot water, and then squeeze out the excess.
Gently press the warm, damp cloth to your face near the area where your gum pain is occurring (not directly to your gums).
For a cold compress:
Wrap an ice pack in a clean cloth and apply it in the same way as above.
Use either method until your pain subsides, or alternate between hot and cold until any swelling and inflammation die down.
3. Herbal poultice
Certain herbs and spices can be turned into home remedies for gum inflammation and pain.
Clove powder and Spilanthes are both analgesic (pain-relieving) herbs. They have been used as alternative oral pain relievers for a long time. An anti-inflammatory powdered herb like turmeric may also help.
To use this treatment, mix the powdered herb of choice with a little warm water until you have a paste.
Apply the paste directly to your gums until pain subsides, and then rinse your mouth with water.
Apply as often as needed.
4. Homemade dental spray
Dilute essential oils into a spray. For this treatment, use a small clean spray bottle that has never had any other product inside it.
Fill the bottle with water, and add about five drops of essential oils of choice per ounce of carrier oil. Shake and spray lightly on your gums as needed.
Never let essential oils touch the skin without being diluted in a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil. Also, never swallow essential oils. Swish with water after and spit it out.
Find a variety of essential oils here.
Take a fresh bag of tea and steep it in boiling water for up to 5 minutes, as you do to make tea. When the tea bag is cool enough to touch, apply it directly to painful gums for at least 5 minutes.
The anti-inflammatory herbs will soothe, while the tannins will absorb anything that irritates the gums.
6. Oral anesthetic gels
Medicated oral gels are available on the market. These contain natural and synthetic compounds that help numb and treat gum pain. Some even include pain-numbing compounds from botanicals like clove or Spilanthes.
7. Over-the-counter pain killers
Simple common painkillers and NSAIDs, such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), and ibuprofen (Advil) can help in a pinch.
If pain is stubborn and topical methods above (or others) aren’t working, give these options a try. You can use them on their own or in addition to topical home treatments.
For dosage amounts, follow directions on the bottle labels.
Gum pain is often an isolated incident that can be easily treated or relieved.
In certain instances, gum pain can be a symptom of a bigger oral health issue. See your doctor or dentist if your gum pain:
- is persistent or intense
- interferes with eating or sleeping
- is accompanied by other symptoms
Gum pain can also be a sign of other oral problems, such as:
- Thrush. This oral yeast infection may include gum pain as a symptom. Talk to your doctor if you have gum pain as well as a yellowish coating on your mouth, throat, or inside of your cheeks — it may be thrush.
- Gingivitis. This gum disease is characterized by swollen, painful gums that bleed easily. Go to your dentist if you have red, swollen, bleeding, and sore gums for over a week.
- Periodontal disease or periodontitis. This condition follows untreated gingivitis. Head to your dentist as soon as possible if you’re experiencing gum pain on top of red, swollen gums; gum bleeding; receding gums; tooth loss; and abscesses.
If you have no other symptoms besides gum pain, try being gentler when you’re brushing or flossing your teeth.
If you’re a woman, take note of whether gum pain happens during certain times of the month or if you’re experiencing pregnancy or menopause. These natural hormonal shifts aren’t uncommon in causing gum pain now and again.