Toothache and Gum Problems - Topic Overview
Gingivitis is a gum disease that causes red,
swollen gums that bleed easily when brushed. Because gingivitis usually doesn't
cause pain, many people delay treatment. If not treated, gum disease can cause
more serious problems with the gum tissue.
Periodontitis is severe gum disease and is caused by long-term
infection of the gums, bone, and other tissues that surround and support the
teeth. It can progress until the bones that support the teeth are damaged. In
this late stage, teeth may become loose and fall out or need to be removed.
Early treatment of gum disease is important to prevent tooth loss.
Other causes of gum bleeding, swelling, and pain include:
- Pregnancy, blood-thinning medicines, or bleeding
disorders. Each of these can cause gums to bleed easily.
- Lack of
vitamins, such as vitamin K or vitamin C, or medical
problems, such as
anemia, that interfere with the body's ability to
absorb certain vitamins.
- Teething in
babies and young children. For more information, see the topic
- Medicines such as Dilantin or
calcium channel blockers.
- Dentures or a dental appliance that
irritates the gums.
- An infection around the root of the tooth.
Swelling and redness, sometimes with pus, may appear at the base of a
Smoking and using other tobacco products increases your risk
for gum disease. Smokers have a higher chance of having gum disease throughout
their mouths than nonsmokers. You may not have symptoms of bleeding or swollen
gums because the normal bleeding immune response is affected by tobacco use.
Chewing tobacco or using snuff may push the gums back in the area of the mouth
where the tobacco is inserted. Constant irritation caused by tobacco products
increases your risk of
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.