Does Flossing Cause Gum Pain?

It’s important to brush and floss your teeth every day to maintain good oral health. But what does it mean when your gums hurt afterward? Is it normal for gums to be sore or even bleed while flossing or shortly after flossing? Let’s check in with your dentist in Boerne to see just what may be causing your gum pain. 

Don’t Blame The Floss

While it’s true that flossing can cause gum pain, it’s usually not the action of flossing itself that results in soreness. The only reason why flossing alone will cause pain is if you’re flossing too hard or too often — once a day is the typical recommendation. If your gums bleed or become inflamed and sore while flossing gently, or you notice the pain shortly after flossing, it’s usually a sign that there’s something else going on in your mouth. Some of those possibilities aren’t very serious, while others are cause for concern. 

Canker Sores

One of the not-so-serious causes of gum pain is a canker sore. These non-contagious sores can affect anywhere in your mouth, including your gums. They’re usually a small red bump but can also be covered by a white coating. Canker sores can be painful, but they’re usually short-lived. There’s typically no reason to worry about canker sores as they’ll go away on their own, however, if you have one that doesn’t disappear within two weeks, schedule a visit with your Boerne dentist. 

Minor Burns

Another potential reason behind gum pain that shouldn’t worry you is a minor burn. These painful and pesky burns can happen from eating hot food or drinking a hot beverage too quickly before it has a chance to cool. The result can be a minor, yet painful, burn that can affect your gums, roof of the mouth, or really any of the mouth’s soft tissues. There’s no treatment for these incredible common minor burns and the pain will resolve on its own. Just try to avoid biting into a hot slice of pizza too quickly. 

Hormonal Changes

This cause of gum pain only applies to women, but it’s still worth talking about. Women’s hormone levels fluctuate often, especially prior to and during menstruation as well as with pregnancy. These changes in hormones can affect a lot of areas of the body, and surprisingly, the gums are one of those areas. Gum tissue can become swollen, red, and tender, but these symptoms are typically temporary and should resolve on their own. 

Oral Cancer

One of the more serious potential causes of gum pain is oral cancer. Similarly to canker sores, oral cancer can first show signs as a sore, sometimes with pain and sometimes without. While the sore or the pain doesn’t need to occur on the gums, it certainly can. In fact, oral cancer can affect any area of the mouth including the gums, tongue, cheeks, and throat. Oral cancer can be treated successfully, but it’s important to catch it in the early stages. That’s why seeing your dentist in Boerne every six months is so important. Any abnormalities or changes that have occurred can be thoroughly examined, and any problems can be caught and treated before they have a chance to develop into more serious, harder to treat problems. 

Gum Disease

The other serious cause of gum pain that we’ll be discussing in this blog is gum disease. As we mentioned earlier, bleeding when flossing isn’t normal, and there’s usually another explanation. Oftentimes, gum disease is to blame. Gum disease usually shows the following signs and symptoms in addition to bleeding: 

  • Tender, swollen gums
  • Bad breath that doesn’t go away
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth

If gum disease isn’t diagnosed and treated, it can lead to tooth loss as well as other problems related to overall health such as heart disease, kidney disease, certain cancers, and Alzheimer’s. 

Any type of gum pain that doesn’t resolve itself or lasts a few weeks is usually a sign that you should schedule an appointment with your dentist in Boerne sooner rather than later. Your dental team will help determine the root cause of your gum pain and talk with you about the best treatment for your specific situation. 

Migraines & Dentistry

An estimated 39 million Americans suffer from headaches or migraines regularly. That’s about 12% of our population that experience these often debilitating, painful, and difficult-to-treat neurological conditions. However, even though this is such a widespread problem, there’s still the need for more research to determine just what causes a headache or migraine, how to prevent them and treat them, and eventually, how to cure them. That’s why every June, medical professionals, including your dentist in Boerne, join together to raise awareness and increase education about headaches and migraines during National Migraine & Headache Awareness Month

How to Differentiate Between a Headache and Migraine

Oftentimes, the terms headache and migraine are used interchangeably. However, they are technically two separate conditions and present themselves with similar, yet different, symptoms. Both conditions involve pain in the head and it can either be a throbbing or dull pain in both. But there are a few differences in other symptoms that can help identify whether you have a headache or a migraine.  

Headache Symptoms

  • Pain is usually spread throughout the head
  • Pain remains consistent and doesn’t tend to worsen with activity
  • Usually has the feeling of constant pressure 
  • Symptoms are localized to only the head

Migraine Symptoms

  • Pain usually affects one side of the head more than the other, but not always
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea
  • Aura symptoms such as blind spots, zig-zag lines, or shimmery, glowy patches

Are Migraines and Headaches Related to Dentistry?

We know that it may seem odd to have your dentist in Boerne talk about conditions that seemingly only affect the head, but the truth is, there may be a connection between chronic headaches and migraines and dentistry. After all, the head is connected to the neck which is connected to the jaw, and there are muscle groups connected to each, so it’s certainly worth a closer look. 

Numerous studies have shown a potential correlation between a poor bite as well as habitually grinding or clenching teeth and an increased risk of chronic headaches or migraines. When someone has a poor bite or constantly grinds their teeth together, the muscles in the jaw joint are under constant and abnormal pressure and may cause a painful condition known as TMD (or TMJ). But the pain may not end at the jaw joint alone. As we’ve mentioned earlier, the head, neck, and jaw are all connected through a complex system of muscles, so when pain affects one section, it can also spread to affect other areas, such as the head. The theory researchers are studying regularly is that this constant muscular pressure may just cause certain headaches or migraines. 

We always encourage migraine and headache sufferers to talk with their primary care physician, as well as their dentist in Boerne, to see if their pain may be caused, or a least exacerbated by, something related to their oral health. Additionally, there is no concrete cause of migraines or headaches, so intervention from your medical team is necessary to diagnose just what may be causing your individual migraines or headaches in order to determine how to treat them effectively.