Woman touching her cheek in pain.

Waking up to sore gums is far from fun. The nagging pain can hang around for days, making it difficult to savor your meals, speak confidently, and even . Adding to the frustration is the inevitable struggle of securing a dental appointment, which can take three to six months. Sigh.

You don’t have to put up with gum discomfort. Understanding the root causes can help you manage the pain and take preventative measures for the future. Here’s the lowdown on why you’re experiencing sore gums and what you can do about it until your next dentist visit.

You Have Food Stuck Under the Gums

Certain types of food like meat, nuts, and sticky candies can easily find their way into the gaps between your teeth. The debris can irritate the surrounding tissue and create a haven for bacteria to multiply. This leads to a host of problems, including swollen gums and . If these issues are left untreated, they can progress to periodontitis – a severe gum disease that may cause tooth loss.

While it might be tempting to dig out food stuck between your teeth with a toothpick, it’s safer to . It’s specifically designed to reach these tight spaces without causing trauma to your gums.

And, of course, proper oral care, which includes brushing your teeth regularly, can also help remove potential irritants. Brush your teeth (and gums!) at least twice a day using closeup Gel Toothpaste with Antibacterial Zinc Red Hot. It has antibacterial zinc that boasts anti-inflammatory effects and blasts away up to 99% of bacteria. This dual-action power helps reduce the risk of sore gums and gives you amazing fresh breath.

You Lack Vitamins

Sore gums can often be indicative of nutritional deficiencies as vitamins are crucial in maintaining oral health. In particular, vitamin C supports that’s not only good for skin but also for gum restoration. also plays a pivotal role since it facilitates calcium absorption to support healthy teeth and gums.

The only way to know whether vitamin deficiencies are at play is through a proper assessment done by your dentist and GP. Once diagnosed, they can recommend dietary adjustments and supplements to up your vitamin intake, as well as to help alleviate the symptoms.

Your Hormones Are in Flux

As if cramps and mood swings aren’t enough, during menstruation (or pregnancy) can increase gum sensitivity. Elevated estrogen and progesterone levels make your gums more susceptible to irritation and swelling from toxins produced by plaque bacteria. You may notice that your gums become tender or even bleed when brushing or flossing.

The symptoms should subside once your hormones are back to normal. In the meantime, you can try swishing salt water around your mouth. Applying a warm or cold compress also helps to soothe gum inflammation. If soreness persists, you may consider over-the-counter pain relief options.

Your Teeth Are Misaligned

Crevices between crooked teeth can be tricky to clean, which puts you at a higher risk of developing gingivitis. On the other hand, wearing braces or invisible aligners might also be what’s causing your sore gums, especially if you’re at the initial stages of treatment. As your teeth gradually shift into their correct positions, the pressure can cause discomfort to your gums.

You’re Eating Too Much Acidic Food

If you occasionally get canker sore on your gums, it’s probably a sign that you need to dial down on acidic dishes and drinks. Items like , soda, chips & salsa, and even hot sauce have low pH levels that damage the lining of the mouth and potentially erode the gum line.

You can still enjoy these food and drinks in moderation, or pair them with food that raises the pH levels. Drinking water after eating helps neutralize acids in your mouth, too. Don’t forget to take care of your teeth and gums by brushing your teeth with closeup All Around Fresh Gel Toothpaste Soothing Menthol after your last meal and before hitting the sheets. This fluoride-based toothpaste contains deep-cleaning silica that lifts plaque and protects your pearly whites against cavities. Plus, it’s formulated with zinc anti-bacterial mouthwash that helps reinforce gums and freshen up your breath.

Many factors can cause and worsen sore gums. Fortunately, most are preventable when you follow proper oral health care practices. If the discomfort persists after you’ve tried these tried-and-true methods, phone your dentist and get treated ASAP.