Itchy gums can indicate many conditions, including gum allergies, certain diseases, and hormonal changes. Professionals can help figure out which condition is causing the itchy gums and what treatment should be given to manage the condition.
Our mouth has two rows of teeth that help us bite, chew, and digest the food. Gums, also known as gingiva, are the connective tissue that anchors teeth in place and covers their roots. Often, it is believed that dental care is only about teeth, but it is more than that. The gums comprise delicate tissues, roots, teeth, and nerves, which are sensitive and require equal care and attention.
When gums are not taken care of, chronic dental issues may arise, including itching between the teeth.
What Causes the Itchy Gums Between Teeth?
Usually, the most common causes of itchy gums are poor oral health, plaque build-up, inflamed gums, and complications in specific dental procedures.
Here are some common causes why gums itch between the teeth-
1. Procedure Complications
Sometimes, people experience itchy gums following medical procedures like tooth removal or an invasive procedure like a root canal treatment. Not only do gums feel inflamed, swollen, or itchy after successful treatment, but they get even worse if complications from the procedure lead to urgent dental problems like toothaches, bone infections, or severe pain.
2. Allergic reaction
It is common for any allergic reaction to cause breakouts or rashes visible on the skin. When gums are affected by allergy, redness, swelling, and itchy sensations can occur around the mouth. This condition is called oral allergy syndrome (1).
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can damage teeth and cause itchy gums due to constant friction. In adults, it may be due to stress and mouth reflexes in sleep. But in kids, it may be due to misalignment of teeth, earache, and teething, called child’s teeth grinding (2).
4. Dental device complications
Braces and retainers are great for the alignment of teeth. But sometimes, they can irritate gums and cause pain. Therefore, cleaning the braces and retainers regularly and daily dental oral care is advised.
5. Dry mouth
Lack of saliva and dehydration can cause dry mouth, leading to itchy gums. Therefore, it is advised to drink enough water and lubricate the mouth. Additionally, avoiding liquors or putting alcohol limits is recommended. Chewing gums also help to stimulate saliva.
Besides, sometimes medications can also cause dry mouth, such as analgesics, anti-anxiety medicines, antidepressants, and antidiarrheals.
6. Excess plaque
Plaque is a sticky layer that films under or above teeth due to consuming sugar and starch. It can cause the gums to itch between the teeth and may even result in tooth decay.
7. Hormonal changes
Hormonal imbalances can affect many body parts, including gums. This is common in females due to increased levels of estrogen and progesterone (3). When a female experiences puberty, menstruation, menopause, and hormonal changes due to other conditions such as pregnancy or birth control, oral discomfort like- red, itchy gums and pain may arise.
8. Gum diseases
Gum diseases such as gingivitis (4) can cause gum irritation, jaw pain, sensitive gums, swelling, and bad breath. Itching gums between the teeth is also one of its symptoms.
9. Periodontal disease
Periodontal disease damages the soft tissue and bone in the gums, causing extreme inflammation, irritation, and itchiness.
10. Viral infections
Viral infections such as herpes simplex virus and coxsackievirus can lead to gingivostomatitis. The inflammation in the gums and lips causes highly infectious, itchy blisters. Coxsackievirus is most common in children under the age of 6. Many people with the condition don’t have symptoms.
Treating Itchy Gums Between Teeth
There are some medications and home remedies to treat itchy gums, depending on the cause and condition. Here are some of the effective treatment procedures-
Procedure and Medicines
- Lasering– This procedure removes plaque and tartar from the teeth. It is an effective treatment in addition to traditional scaling and planning.
- Root planning– In this procedure, dental professionals remove severe tartar build-up due to receding gums, giving teeth and gums a fresh surface to reattach to healthy tissue.
- Plaque scaling– An electric tool is used in this procedure to remove tartar from the surface of teeth.
- Antihistamines– They are effective medications that stop the itching in gums due to allergies.
- Tooth guards– These guards prevent teeth from further damage while playing and sleeping.
Home Remedies and Oral Care to Treat Itch Gums between teeth
- Proper dental care– Use a fluoride-based toothpaste. Brush your teeth at least twice a day or after every meal. Floss at least one time in a day. Visit a dentist once a month. An alcohol-free antiseptic mouthwash may also be a good idea if you have an inflammation or gum infection. Taking good care of your teeth and gums in the first place can go a long way to preventing future problems.
- Saltwater– To remove and prevent gums from itching and irritation, gargle once daily with lukewarm saltwater.
- Ice cubes– Gently suck on ice cubes to prevent itching gums, and in bonus, ice cubes will hydrate you.
- Lifestyle change -Avoid tobacco and alcohol to prevent gums from itching. This includes quitting e-cigarettes and vaping. Limit on spicy, acidic, starchy, and sugary foods for healthy gums.
When to Seek Medical Help for Itching Gums
If the problem is persistent, seeking medical help becomes essential. Treatments may include scaling, professional cleaning, and examination for further damage. While you should adhere to regular dental check-ups, this becomes urgent if something feels wrong with your gums. It is best to book in with a dentist for expert advice if in doubt.
Proper dental hygiene, good oral cleaning routines, and regular visits to the dentist are the key components to avoiding red, swollen, and itchy gums.
Home remedies, such as rinsing with salt water and sucking on ice cubes, may cure symptoms. However, you may need professional treatment in more severe cases. As prevention is better than cure, regular brushing, flossing, and avoiding foods that trigger symptoms can help. If you think you have gingivitis, see a dentist for treatment.
- Oral allergy syndrome – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2917934/
- Teeth grinding – https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/teeth-grinding
- Hormones & Oral Health – https://edantseva.gov.in/content/hormones-and-oral-health
- Gingivitis and periodontitis – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279593/