Why Do My Gums Hurt When I Brush My Teeth?

Why Do My Gums Hurt When I Brush My Teeth

It’s not uncommon for a lot of people to dismiss the pains they experience when brushing their teeth.

A lot of folks think that this is just because of how they brush their pearly whites and the pain will go away eventually.

However, there are more pressing reasons why you should get answers when you often ask, ‘why do my gums hurt when I brush my teeth?’

There are lots of other ways how your gums can be hurt and it would be better for you to address the cause right away to prevent further complications.

This article will help you do just that.

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Why Do My Gums Hurt when I Brush?

You might be thinking that because your gums are mucosal tissue which is soft, means it can easily get damaged.

Aggressive brushing can definitely hurt them quite easily so it can be a very good explanation as to why you’re experiencing pain.

However, this is also a good enough reason for you to explore the other reasons why you experience such pain. Why do your gums hurt when brushing teeth?

​Here are a few possible explanations:

You get sore gums from brushing too hard

Why do my gums hurt when I brush? As mentioned above, the most common answer to this question is that you brush your teeth too hard.

Yes, it’s very much possible that you’re too aggressive when you brush your teeth. You can either have a heavy hand when brushing your teeth which means that you can be pressing your toothbrush too hard on your teeth.

It can then cause you to press down hard on your gums. And since this area is a lot softer than your teeth, it can get injured more easily.

Your hand movements while brushing can also be the very reason why you often ask, ‘why do my gums hurt?’

You could be poking your gums when you move your toothbrush from one area to another. In short, gum trauma can be caused by your aggressive brushing.

How would you know if you’re brushing your teeth too hard? Take a look at your toothbrush. If it’s only a couple of months old but its bristles are already fraying and bent out of shape, then it’s highly likely that you’re an aggressive brusher.

We wholeheartedly recommend getting the best Sonicare toothbrush as it provides a balance between effective but more gentle brushing.

Your toothbrush might be too stiff

Sometimes, it’s not really you but it’s your toothbrush that could be hurting your gums. You might not be having sore gums from brushing too hard but it could be because your toothbrush is too stiff.

A hard bristle toothbrush could be damaging your gumsSome toothbrushes’ bristles are really just too inflexible to be good for your teeth and gums. You might not even need to do much for them to poke and hurt your gums.

This can cause soreness, swelling and tenderness which can result in a lot of pain when they receive some pressure.

This is why most of the products being advertised today highlight the fact that they have soft bristles. So you minimize the odds of hurting your gums when brushing.

You’re not flossing properly

As flossing should be a part of your dental care routine, we’re including this in the list as well. The wrong flossing technique can also hurt your gums severely, especially if you’re not careful in executing this grooming step.

If you’re doing it too haphazardly, there’s a good chance that you’ll cut your gums and cause it to bleed.

You might have a gum condition

If you feel like you have sensitive gums and it’s the reason why your teeth hurt when brushing. There’s a very good chance that you have a gum condition. Here are a few ailments that you could be suffering from:


This is the condition where the gum around the base of your teeth (gingivae) are irritated and inflamed. It’s a rather common issue and is a mild form of gum disease. It often manifests as swelling, tenderness and bleeding of the gums when pressure is applied to it.

The main and most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. It’s often a result of plaque and tartar build up around your teeth which will then collect bacteria.

These can then crowd and irritate the tissues in your gum line. This often results in swelling and even tooth loss when not treated right away.


Also commonly referred to as oral thrush. This condition is a fungal infection wherein the yeast-shaped fungus known as the Candida albicans grows in abundance inside the mouth and throat. While it often affects the tongue and inner cheeks, it can reach the gums and cause soreness and irritation.

Usually characterized by white spots that look like cottage cheese. They’re lesions however, can hurt and even bleed when scraped.

This is common among young children, however adults and the elderly are also able to get them. Those who spend a lot of time in hospitals are also prone to getting this fungal infection.


Often a result of untreated gingivitis, periodontitis is a more serious case of gum disease.

It shares similar symptoms as the former but at a more severe degree. While it might not sound like much, this condition can actually damage the tissue and bone support of your teeth.

So if you don’t address it right away, it can result in tooth loss. Unfortunately, this is a chronic disease and you can manage its symptoms but it might not entirely go away anymore, especially if it has been detected late.

You have an abscessed tooth

You will also experience pain while brushing your teeth if you have an abscessed tooth. This is the condition where pus has already collected around the root of your tooth. It causes swelling, tenderness and soreness to the gums.

There are lots of things that cause a tooth abscess but most of it are very easy to prevent. It’s usually caused by tooth decay, cracked tooth or a gum disease. All three won’t happen to you if maintain proper dental care.

You’re having some hormonal changes

This tends to surprise some folks as not everyone knows that your hormones can affect your gums.

Hormonal changes that are brought on by puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy and menopause will make your gums more prone to gingivitis. So if you don’t properly care for your teeth and gums, you’ll most likely feel your teeth hurt after brushing.

This could potentially be the answer to your question “Why do my gums hurt when I brush my teeth”.

You have mouth ulcers

Also known as canker sores, mouth ulcers are best characterized as inflamed soft tissues. They’re often very painful and are commonly found near the mouth and inner cheeks. Sometimes they also grow on the gums which can be bothersome.

Unfortunately, experts haven’t determined yet why people get canker sores. It’s often believed that it’s a bacterial and viral infection. It can be easily treated by over-the-counter topical creams.

You’re having an allergic reaction

As it turns out, allergies can also be the very reason why your tooth hurts when brushing. You could be allergic to something you ate which can result in itchy gums. You might make the mistake of trying to relieve the itch by scratching with your toothbrush which can then cause bleeding and more soreness.

Dental hygiene products can also trigger allergic reactions in lots of people. This includes your toothpaste, mouthwash, floss and even the products you use to clean your dental devices.

Allergies of this kind can cause itchiness and soreness, so you have to find out which item has been irritating the inside of your mouth.

If you often ask, ‘why do my gums hurt when I brush my teeth?’, this might be a very good explanation to it.

You have burned the inside of your mouth

If you burned the inside of your mouth prior to brushing it, there’s a good chance that your gums are still sore and tender from its exposure to high temperatures. Again, combined with aggressive brushing or a hard-bristled toothbrush, you’ll really end up hurting your gums because of this.

Your dental appliances don’t fit properly

Your dental appliances might also be the very reasons why you’re experiencing pains inside your mouth. If they don’t fit properly, chafing and friction will be created between the device and the gums. This can lead to irritation which can then cause soreness and tenderness in your gums.

So if you wear dentures, mouthguards, retainers or braces, it’s important that they fit you perfectly.

You have a vitamin deficiency

Sore and bleeding gums can also be caused by vitamin B and C deficiency. This can result in the condition known as scurvy which can then weaken the gums. It often results in swollen and sore gums as well as causes ulcerations in the area.

The good thing is that cases of scurvy are rare in the modern times. Most peoples diets get a good dose of vitamins and minerals that are already enough to prevent such ailments.

However, it will still be a good idea to try to meet your recommended daily allowance to ensure that you won’t have such issues later on.

Preventing Sore And Bleeding Gums

If you don’t want to ask the question, ‘why do my gums hurt when I brush my teeth?’ ever again, you might want to learn about the different ways how you can prevent your gums from getting sore and sensitive.

To help you with that, here are a few tips that you should keep in mind:

Ways to prevent sore and bleeding gums

Improve your ​oral ​health ​routine

A lot of people develop gum sensitivities because of their poor oral hygiene. As mentioned above, it’s the most common cause of gingivitis.

Experts estimate that nearly half of American adults have some form of periodontal disease. So it’s quite safe to say that a lot of people need to improve their dental care routine if they don’t want their teeth to hurt when they brush them.

Some might say that it’s actually because their gums hurt when they brush so they prefer to opt out of the activity altogether. This can’t be more problematic because brushing is the most effective way to clean your teeth.

If you brush your teeth properly and regularly, it’s highly likely that most of your oral health issues would be addressed. In addition, don't forget sensitive teeth remedies which help alleviate the pain.

See​ a ​dentist ​regularly

It’s recommended that you see a dentist twice a year to ensure your good oral health. Combined with an excellent oral hygiene, doing this can guarantee that you’ll be able to effectively keep your teeth and mouth in great shape.

Seeing a dentist regularly would help you monitor the good health of your teeth and gums. It will also get you to do a thorough cleaning from time to time to ensure that there’s no plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth.

Lastly, it can also help you determine whether you have a gum disease and whether you should take more steps in caring for your oral health.

Choose your dental care products more carefully

As the dental care products you use can also hurt the insides of your mouth, you should also be very careful when choosing them. If you’re prone to allergies, try to learn which ingredients are triggering an adverse reaction from you.

In case you can’t figure out what’s causing your allergies, opt for a gentler formula instead.

For example, you can always opt for soft bristle brushes instead of hard ones if you’re an aggressive brusher. You can go for alcohol-free mouth rinses if you find alcohol too dry for your mouth.

Flossing with water flossers  will prevent hurting gums in the long run, so they can be better alternatives to regular floss threads.

Why Do My Gums Hurt When I Brush My Teeth, Solved!

Sore, painful and bleeding gums are not something you should dismiss and ignore. Even if you think you’re just an aggressive brusher, you should still try to determine the very reason why you feel such when you brush your teeth.

Only by doing this can you be sure to cover all your bases and ensure that you’re doing your best to care for your oral health.

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Related: Best Water Flosser for Braces

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