Why Do My Gums Hurt in One Spot?

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Your gums are naturally soft and sensitive, predisposing them to many issues that can cause pain and soreness. Although sore gums may swell or bleed, they don’t always show physical symptoms. Painful gum soreness might affect the whole gum or be localized to a single spot.  

Sores along the gums often cause localized gum pain. Gum pain may also arise from gingivitis and infectious diseases such as herpetic stomatitis. Natural ways to relieve gum pain include salt water rinses and warm or cold compress. If gum pain persists for over a week, see a dentist.

Depending on the cause and severity of gum pain, various medical remedies can help. Over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers like acetaminophen can help ease the pain and discomfort. You can also use OTC gels such as Anbesol to treat gum pain. Let’s look at more details about localized gum pain and how you can remedy it.

Why Are My Gums Painful in One Spot?

Young beatuiful blond woman standing on isolated white background suffering from sudden gum pain

A sore spot on your gums is the most common reason for localized pain. A gum sore may result from chewing on sharp and hard food, getting an abscess, or having an infection in the gums. If you’re not flossing, food stuck in your teeth can put pressure on the gums and cause discomfort or even pain.

A cavity penetrating the root of a tooth can cause pain below the affected tooth along the gum. Pain from a cavity that penetrates the root can be very severe, necessitating dental care.

What Are Other Possible Causes of Gum Pain?

Painful gums are often the result of gum inflammation or gingivitis. However, good dental hygiene and regular dentist visits can help prevent inflammation. Some of the common signs that accompany gum pain include:

  • Mouth inflammation or swelling
  • Bleeding gums
  • Changes in gum appearance
  • Bad breath
  • Gum enlargement
  • Fever
  • Painful chewing
  • Breathing difficulties

Below are the top causes of sore gums:


Inflammation of the gums is one of the most common causes of gum pain. Various issues can cause gingivitis, including:

1. Physical Irritation

Brushing, flossing, and other mechanical irritants used in the dentist’s office can aggravate the gums and contribute to inflammation and pain.

2. Plaque and Tartar Buildup

Plaque results from the accumulation of microorganisms on the teeth and gums. Your gums can become irritated and inflamed due to the immune system’s reaction to the bacteria.

3. Medications

Some pharmaceuticals can increase gum size, promoting plaque buildup that causes inflammation, pain, and bleeding. Drugs like calcium channel blockers and immunosuppressants can cause gum pain in some people.

4. Pregnancy and Hormonal Changes

Characterized by inflamed and bleeding gums, Gingivitis is commonly associated with pregnancy due to the hormonal changes that occur during this time.

5. Underlying Conditions

Gingivitis and gum pain may be symptoms of more significant underlying health problems, such as diabetes, vitamin deficiency, immunodeficiency, or a genetic disorder.

Infectious Diseases

The following infections may cause gum pain:

1. Soft Tissue Infections

Infections of the mouth’s soft tissues, such as those found under the tongue and at the back of the throat, often cause discomfort in the gums and teeth. An emergency medical intervention may be necessary if these illnesses obstruct the airways, causing respiratory distress.

2. Herpetic Stomatitis

This viral infection causes fever, reddened mouth, and inflamed gums. It also causes mouth sores and ulcers.

3. Cold Sores

The herpes simplex virus (HSV) causes cold sores, which are lesions on the skin. Cold sores are tiny blisters around the mouth.

4. Sinus Infections

Pain in the teeth, gums, and mouth may signify a sinus infection. Sinusitis or rhino-sinusitis happens when the nasal cavities get swollen or inflamed.  

5. Oral Herpes

The HSV virus responsible for causing oral herpes is easily transmissible through kissing or oral sex with an infected person. Most people experience a severe cluster of mouth sores and other symptoms at the onset of the disease. Other signs of oral herpes include fever, headaches, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes.

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction Disorder

gum disease or bad personal hygiene routine in home bathroom

TMJ dysfunction syndrome is a condition characterized by problems in the long-term pain and dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint. The symptoms of TMJ dysfunction could randomly flare up and subside for significant periods of time.

The temporomandibular joint is a vulnerable structure due to its complexity and the difficulty of its movements. TMJ disorders usually damage teeth and affect their alignment. Poorly aligned teeth are challenging to clean, which makes you vulnerable to gum disease and tooth decay.

TMJ issue is notoriously difficult to diagnose, so initial therapy typically consists of non-invasive, non-permanent adjustments to the jaw or teeth. Gentle stretching of the jaw muscles, applying ice packs, and decreasing stress levels may help alleviate TMJ symptoms.

Giant Cell Arteritis

Headaches, vision issues, jaw discomfort, and arm pain are all possible symptoms of giant cell arteritis, which affects the blood vessels in the head and neck.

Primary care physicians can diagnose giant cell arteritis by conducting a physical examination and ordering a blood test to detect inflammation. Doctors often recommend steroids to help reduce swelling.

Dental Cavities

Cavities or bacterial infections of the tooth are common dental problems. The acid produced by certain bacteria dissolves the tooth enamel. If you have a tooth cavity, visit the dentist immediately for treatment.

Canker Sores

Canker sores are small, grayish-white lesions that can appear anywhere in the mouth. Canker sores have a variety of possible causes, including genetics, vitamin deficiencies, and allergies, but their precise origins remain unknown.

Chlorhexidine mouthwashes (on Amazon) such as Peridex or steroid medicines can help treat this condition without needing a doctor’s supervision.

What Are Common Home Remedies for Sore Gums?

Painful gums are often a sign of a severe oral condition. The following simple home remedies help treat sore gums but you should make an appointment with a dentist right away even if you plan to try these home remedies.

Hot and Cold Compresses

A hot or cold compress might help relieve your discomfort when you have sore gums. To prepare a hot compress, heat some water without letting it boil. You should be able to withstand the water at that temperature.

Alleviate the discomfort by soaking a towel in hot water, wringing out the excess water, and laying it on your face in the affected area. Apply old compress using an ice pack (on Amazon) wrapped in a clean towel.

Gargle Salt Water

The salt in the water kills any bacteria that might already be in your mouth and stops microbes from proliferating. Heat a cup of water and stir in 1 teaspoon of salt. Rinse your mouth thoroughly with salt water for a few seconds before spitting it out.

Be careful not to swallow the water. Use this saltwater solution to gargle at least twice daily.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide helps soothe gum pain and inflammation. Hydrogen peroxide’s antimicrobial and antifungal properties make it effective against a wide range of dental issues.

Mix hydrogen peroxide and water at a 1-to-1 ratio. Gargle with the peroxide solution for about 20 seconds before spitting it out. Ensure to rinse your mouth with warm water to remove any lingering residue.

You can also mix hydrogen peroxide with baking soda to create a thick paste. Apply the paste for a minute and spit it out.

Tea Bags

Teabags are an effective remedy for sore gums. Steep a tea bag in boiling water for at least five minutes. Wait a few minutes for the tea bag to cool down so that it is not scalding before applying it to your gums.

Choose an astringent tea, such as green, black, or hibiscus, to achieve the desired effect. Anti-inflammatory tea options like chamomile or ginger also work well.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil’s anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties help soothe sore and painful gums. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a glass of water and use it as you would any other mouthwash.

Turmeric Paste

Turmeric is another all-natural substance with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. Prepare a paste by combining a quarter teaspoon of turmeric with a small amount of water.

Put the mixture on your gums and let it sit for 5 minutes. You should apply it to your gums and massage them gently. Rinse off any remaining turmeric with warm water after that. For best results, do this daily for a week or two.

Enhance Your Diet

It is essential to avoid sore gums and irritated gums. Better nutrition is a powerful tool in the fight against gum disease and for restoring gum health. Try to increase your intake of calcium, vitamin C, and folic acid.

One possible cause of puffy gums is a deficiency in specific vitamins. Oranges, broccoli, bell peppers, pineapples, kale, and strawberries are a few of the many foods rich in vitamin C.

The dental health benefits of consuming an adequate amount of calcium are numerous. Dairy products, soy milk, sardines, and collard greens are all excellent sources of calcium. Boost your folic acid intake by eating more asparagus, beans, lentils, broccoli, leafy greens, and avocados.

When Should I Seek Medical Attention for Sore Gums?

If your gums are sore for over a week, it’s best to seek medical attention from your dentist. Bleeding gums may indicate a severe gum disease such as gingivitis. Speed up recovery by flossing and brushing your teeth frequently.

Failing to treat gingivitis can lead to severe gum diseases such as periodontitis. This illness may cause painful abscesses and eventual tooth loss. Since gum disease may lead to heart problems, taking care of your mouth is essential.

Visit a dentist if you experience any of the symptoms below:

  • Red and inflamed gums for longer than a couple of days

  • Bleeding gums

  • Painful chewing

  • Loose teeth

  • Tooth Sensitivity

  • Dentures not fitting

Brush teeth twice and floss once daily to prevent sore gums.

What Are Common Medical Remedies for Sore Gums?

These are some of the medical and professional approaches used to alleviate gum pain:

  1. Visit your dentist regularly to avoid problems like gingivitis, plaque accumulation, and tooth infections.

  2. Your doctor or dentist may prescribe antibiotics for a tooth infection causing gum pain.

  3. Doctors or dentists may drain infections or remove damaged tissue from the affected area.

  4. Infected teeth may necessitate removal by a dentist.

  5. If your dentist or doctor believes that your gum inflammation and pain are medication-related, they may recommend a dosage adjustment or other treatment.

If you have any questions or concerns about your current medication regimen, please get in touch with your doctor before making any changes. Doctors may prescribe medicine to treat an underlying ailment if they believe it is the cause of your gum discomfort.

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