Why Does Pressing On My Gums Feel Good

girl looking to her retainer and toothbrush, trying to smirk her gums.

There are a million reasons for your mouth pain, ranging from decay to sensitivity and even cancer. One of the most common reasons for a painful mouth is inflamed gums.

Almost everybody in the world has a certain degree of gum inflammation (also known as gingivitis). It could be very mild showing no symptoms, or so severe that your gums hurt and burn almost all the time.

When the gums are this inflamed, you would expect that even the slightest touch would cause severe pain, but shockingly enough, in some cases, it is the exact opposite, where touching and even applying pressure on your gums can actually get a good feeling, even pleasure.. go figure !!

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Reasons behind gum pain

There are a few reasons why your gums would hurt, including:

  • Gum Disease: Possibly the most common cause of a painful mouth is gum disease. Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums, which results from toxins that are released from bacteria.Bacteria are already present inside the mouth, where they lie in wait for food remnants so they could release their acids and toxins, causing the inflammatory reaction.

    This is often accompanied by bleeding.

    So when something gets stuck in your teeth, make sure to clear them as soon as you can properly of course.

  • Pockets: Pockets are a variant of gum disease, where the inflammation process has been localized to a specific area, causing a space to form between the teeth.

    This space is called a periodontal pocket, where food is easily stuck and the bacteria would invade this area causing inflammation and subsequently that painful feeling.

  • Spaces between teeth: These could be naturally occurring (as people who naturally have spaces between their teeth), or a result of faulty dental work (for example an improperly made filling where the space between the teeth wasn’t closed properly).

    Either way, these spaces create a chance for hard foods to strike the gums, causing their injury.

  • Improper flossing, or too much flossing: yes the very same reason for your healthy gums is the reason for pain.

    Improper flossing technique (particularly with string floss) where the floss hits the gums with force causes significant injury to the gums.

    The same goes for too much flossing, and for that reason your dental hygienist would recommend flossing only twice a week.

  • Wisdom teeth: The last teeth to appear in the mouth, and more often than not it doesn’t find a place to properly erupt, and ends up being partially or completely buried in the bone and gums.

    When it is only partially buried, the small piece of gums that covers it tend to get inflamed due to trauma or food impaction, and removing it is the only way to cure the situation.

Solving the mystery of why touching gums can get a better feeling

Well, we now understand why your gums would hurt, and it is only common sense to assume that applying pressure would only serve to increase that pain, so why does sticking a toothpick between two teeth feels good rather than hurt more?

what is the reason behind this seemingly strange sensation of pleasure?

The answer is very simple: releasing the pressure from inside. Imagine a balloon that is completely filled with water to the point it would rupture.

Now imagine that this balloon is full of very sensitive nerve endings, what would this balloon be feeling??

The answer is severe pain.

Now imagine that you apply pressure to this balloon so that it releases some of that water through its nozzle, and in turn alleviate the pressure on this balloon with a large number of nerve endings .. wouldn’t the pain go away?

This is exactly what happens inside the inflamed gums.

A main component of inflammation is edema (which means fluid building up inside the gums).

This edema presses on the highly innervated gums causing them to hurt.

When you use a toothpick or even your fingers to press, some of that fluid gets released or at least relocated to areas where the nerve supply are not so high, and in turn, you get a good feel of relief, but only momentarily, because when you release your fingers, the fluid builds up again very quickly, and we are right back where we started.

In other words, this is only a temporary fix, a patch on an unclean wound.

The only way that the condition would subside completely is for the cause of the problem to be addressed.

How to permanently fix the problem

In cases of gum disease, prevention is definitely better than cure.

Gingivitis is quite difficult to treat, but so easy to prevent. All you have to do is take proper care of your teeth and mouth and apply a strict oral hygiene regimen.

Brushing twice a day, together with flossing twice or 3 times a week, and using mouth wash as your dentist prescribes would certainly reduce the chances of ever getting gum disease, as well as protect your gum line from a recession which could cause even more pain.

However, if the problem already occurred, here is what you should do:

  1. Visit your dentist: Only a dentist or hygienist could identify the severity of the condition, and in turn, assign a proper treatment.

    In addition, he\she could fix whatever is wrong with your teeth that could be the source of the situation (such as faulty fillings) and give you instructions on how to properly use the brush and floss.

  2. Keep the pockets and spaces clean: Until the spaces are closed, you have to keep them clean.You could use a mouth wash or any method of flossing that you see fit (such as interdental brushes or even string floss).

    Keeping them clean ensures the bacteria have nothing to feed on, and in turn, no toxins would be formed..

    meaning no inflammation.

  3. up your oral hygiene game: If you already maintain a good oral hygiene regimen, this regimen is clearly not working for you, and you need something better. If you use string floss, consider switching to a water flosser which is far more effective.

    If you use a Fluoride containing mouth wash, consider switching to another one containing Chlorohexidine which is far more efficient in reducing gum disease.

    Again you could ask your dentist or hygienist for advice.

Final words, and we could not stress this hard enough, it is so much easier to prevent the disease from occurring that deal with its ramifications. In other words, maintaining proper oral hygiene would save you a lot of hassle.


Why Do I want to Scratch my gums?

The gums receive the same sensation from the brain as the skin. So when your skin gets irritated (like when you get pinched by a bug), you feel the need to scratch.

The same goes for the gums. When they irritated through inflammation, you feel the need to scratch them.

What causes sharp pain in the gums?

The reasons for gum disease are numerous, such as gum disease, pockets, spacing, vigorous brushing and flossing .. etc. , as explained earlier.

Why do certain types of pain feel good?

This is a false sensation. Applying pressure to inflamed gums releases the pressure from that area, but only for a little while, and when this pressure is let-up, the fluids return to their original position and the pain returns.

Why do my gums Throb after flossing?

This can be one of 2 reasons, either you floss too hard, injuring the gums, or you actually floss just right, and that throbbing sensation is actually your gums healing themselves, so you just need to revise your method of flossing.

Have You Ever Tried a Water Flosser? 

String floss can be a pain and cause unsightly gum bleeding. A water flosser is more effective in removing plaque and also easy to use. Making it a perfect oral health addition for the family. View our best water flosser buyers guide here. 

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