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Understanding Sensitive Gums: 5 Common Reasons and Causes


Millions of Americans have experienced sore gums. Although various factors and conditions cause it, it results in painful, sensitive, and bleeding gums. If you’ve experienced a painful sensation in your gums, there is a massive chance that something is wrong. Here are some reasons why your gums are sensitive.

1. Improper Brushing and Flossing Technique

Brushing or flossing too hard is one of the most straightforward reasons why gums become sensitive. However, they are also the most uncomplicated issues to resolve. If you are brushing or flossing too vigorously, you may unintentionally injure yourself. Gums are made out of soft tissues that are easily agitated. Although your intentions are good, improper brushing and flossing techniques may do more harm than good.

It is still important to brush and floss your teeth after meals. However, do it in a manner that doesn’t cause harm to the gums. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in a circular motion. Meanwhile, when flossing, do it gently and carefully slide it back and forth between your teeth.

2. Gum Disease

Gum disease is a typical reason for sensitive gums. More than half of American adults have periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease. Although you haven’t heard of periodontitis yet, you might’ve heard of gingivitis, this gum disease’s less severe form.

A lack of proper oral hygiene causes gum disease. Although brushing twice a day and flossing after is essential for a healthy mouth, most people still forget, and it leads to the development of plaque, causing gum disease. The bacteria in plaque irritate gums, causing pain, redness, and swelling. However, catching it early on can still save your gums from danger.

3. Medical Issues

Other medical issues may also contribute to gum sensitivity. Canker sores, also known as mouth ulcers, are a frequent culprit of pain in the gums. As of writing, there isn’t a known apparent cause for them, making them difficult to avoid.

Oral cancer, on the other hand, can also cause pain in the gums. People who undergo chemotherapy for different types of cancer may also cause pain in the gums. If you are suffering from any health issues, even if they seem unrelated to your oral health, they may cause gum sensitivity.

4. Unhealthy Habits

Vices and other unhealthy habits also damage the gums. Those who smoke are more likely to develop gingivitis or periodontitis than those who do not. Smoking causes painful, swollen, and bleeding gums.

An unhealthy lifestyle, such as a diet full of carbs and sugars, contributes to sensitive gums. Both substances jumpstart plaque development, the leading cause of gum irritation. If left sitting on teeth for too long, the plaque builds up and leads to gum disease. 

5. Hormonal Changes

Women are more likely to deal with sensitive or tender gums due to hormonal changes. During puberty, the rise in hormones can increase the blood flow to the gums, making them red, swollen, and sensitive. Pregnancy also affects how gums become susceptible to both soft and firm pressures.


Although various factors can cause gum sensitivity, it is relatively easy to solve health concerns. As long as you maintain good oral hygiene without exerting too much pressure on the gums, you should achieve a healthier and less painful smile.

Dr. Thomas E. Cooke Family Dentistry is your emergency dentist in Raleigh, NC. We provide top-notch dental care services vital for everyone who needs help, especially in curing sensitive gums. Since some toothaches can’t wait until next week, we offer emergency dental services. Visit our clinic today or make an appointment through our website today.