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What Causes Itchy Gums?

The hormonal changes experienced during pregnancy may cause itchy gums.
Itchy gums should be reported to a dentist.
Periodontal disease can include itchy and bleeding gums.
Gum disease such as gingivitis and periodontitis are caused by bacterial infection of the mouth tissues, which can lead to inflamed, irritated, and receding gums and bad breath.
To maintain gum health, regular brushing and flossing are essential.
Mouthwash can be used as a preventative measure against itchy gums.
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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2014
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Itchy gums can be caused by a variety of things, including periodontal disease. Sometimes allergies, taking certain medications, bruxism, or injury to the mouth may cause itching of the gums. Treatment usually includes treating the underlying condition.

One of the most common causes of itchy gums is periodontal disease, primarily gingivitis. Itching can be accompanied by gum soreness, receding gum line, foul breath, and bleeding gums. Most gum diseases are caused by bacteria, and treatment usually involves using medicated mouthwash and toothpaste. These work to kill the bacteria which cause gingivitis and by removing plaque from the teeth and gums.

Sometimes bruxism causes itchy gums if injury is done to the teeth or if receding of the gums occurs. Bruxism is a condition in which one grinds the teeth or clenches the jaw. This can eventually lead to gum and tooth damage by grinding away at the tooth enamel and causing the gums to recede away from the teeth. This condition can be treated by using a specialized mouth guard which prevents grinding from occurring.

Injury to the mouth may also cause itchy gums, especially on injuries involving an open wound. Sometimes as cuts or lesions heal itching can occur. Most wounds to the gums heal on their own, although sometimes medicated mouthwash may be used to speed up the process.

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In some cases, medications used to treat other conditions may cause itchy gums as a side effect. This is not common, and many times these effects will subside on their own once the body adjusts to the new medication. If not, another drug may be used or the dosage may need to be changed. Other symptoms related to the gums may also be present, since itching is often caused by irritation to the gums.

Itchy gums should always be reported to a dentist or another oral health professional. This is especially true if itching in the gums is accompanied by bleeding, recession of the gum line, soreness or frequent irritation. These are all indications of gum disease, which is a serious health condition. When left untreated, gum disease can result in loss of the teeth and infection. Poor oral health has also been linked to heart disease and other complications.

Most conditions which cause itchy gums can be successfully treated. Very rarely, gum itching can be the sign of an underlying health condition. If no gum problems are uncovered, additional testing may be needed to determine the cause of itching.

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indigomoth
Post 8

@Fa5t3r - That sounds like quite an ordeal. I haven't had any trouble with wisdom teeth at all (perhaps I don't have any?) but I can remember my sister complaining that the worst thing about getting hers out was that the site was itchy, but she couldn't scratch it.

She was worried about upsetting the gums or tearing stitches, but she was dying to scratch the itch. Luckily she restrained herself, because otherwise she'd basically have to endure the itchiness longer and maybe get a gum infection on top of it.

Fa5t3r
Post 7

@literally45 - It can happen in adults as well, when their wisdom teeth come through. I think many dentists pull wisdom teeth as a matter of course now, so not so many people experience it, but I was lucky enough to have wisdom teeth that aren't disrupting the rest of my mouth, so the dentist let them come in naturally.

It really hurt! I got a slight fever for each one as well. And I can remember really wanting to rub the gums, even though I don't know if I'd technically describe them as itchy. It was a relief when it was over with and even with all that, I'm glad I didn't have to get any of them pulled.

burcinc
Post 6

My sister has this horrible habit of picking her gums when she's stressed. She initially went to the dentist saying that her gums were itching a lot. The dentists didn't find anything wrong with her, except for the irritation she had caused on her gums by picking them. He then asked her to see a psychologist and it turns out that this is a rare compulsive behavior that happens to some people when they're under a lot of stress.

So I guess her gums aren't really itching, she just feels that way from anxiety. Anyway, she's taking some anxiety medication now and is doing a lot better. The itching feeling she's been having has decreased.

literally45
Post 5

@anamur-- Yea absolutely. When babies start teething, they will get itchy, inflamed gums that are sometimes also painful. It can cause them to drool a lot too.

My daughter went through this for a good five-six months until her teeth actually started coming through! She would also put everything in her mouth and suckle on it to try and relieve the itch. There isn't much that can be done for this except to just be patient and wait. The teething rings for infants seemed to help though.

serenesurface
Post 4
Itchy gums in infants is normal right? It's just teething pains, I'm assuming?
anon172221
Post 3

@donna61: Did the olive oil treatment provide any relief for your husband's itchy gums? Please let us know!

Thanks, Comet

roxytalks
Post 2

I can honestly say that I had never even heard of itchy gums before my husband started suffering from them a few weeks ago.

I can't even imagine how it must feel. It must be terribly irritating. How would you relieve an itch like that? You can't exactly scratch it!

I'll be sure to pass this information on to him. Hopefully he will go to the dentist and they will determine what the cause is and find a solution.

donna61
Post 1

This is good information. My husband just got diagnosed with periodontitis and was not told about itchy gums. When we received the list of gum disease symptoms, I was amazed at how many were listed!

One treatment that our dentist told us about is known as oil pulling. You use unrefined olive or canola oil. In the morning, before brushing or eating, you swoosh the oil around your mouth up to one minute. Try not to swallow of course, gross! Then rinse until clear. After about thirty days you should start to see a huge difference in your gums according to our dentist.

My husband and I are both going to try this starting tomorrow. I will keep you all posted!

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