Gum disease, more commonly known as gingivitis or periodontitis, is an inflammation and infection of the gums that can lead to tooth loss. This condition is caused when the bacteria that reside in plaque multiply and invade your gums, first causing chronic inflammation. As the bacteria continue to destroy the tissues of your gums, pockets form, loosening teeth, which can fall out completely. Even in the mildest cases, gum disease can cause significant pain that can be difficult to ignore. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to reduce the pain of gum disease, decrease inflammation and help your body fight the infection.
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Rinse your mouth with warm salt water twice a day. According to the website Mother Nature, salt water helps to draw infection from your gums and can help relieve inflammation. To make a rinse, add 1 tbsp. of salt to a cup of warm water. Don't use cold water, as this can make your pain even worse by irritating the nerves. Be sure to swish the mixture around your mouth so it gets in between your teeth and into the areas that contain the infection.
Apply a topical ointment for gum pain, available at your local pharmacy. The product should contain benzocane, a topical anesthetic that can temporarily relieve your gum pain. Benzocane is usually found in products made for teething infants, but can also help adults with gum disease. Use the product as directed by the manufacturer and don't rely on it for long-term use because it doesn't treat the underlying infection.
Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, available at your pharmacy. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, can help relieve both pain and inflammation in your gums. If you're running a fever from the infection, an anti-inflammatory can also help reduce it until you can get to the doctor. Certain people such as those taking blood-thinning medications shouldn't use anti-inflammatory medications, so check with your doctor before using one of these drugs.
Brush your teeth and gums gently with a soft-bristle toothbrush twice a day. It sounds painful, but gently brushing your teeth and sore gums helps to loosen plaque and free trapped bacteria. In fact, you might even notice that your gums feel better as a result of the massaging action of brushing, which encourages additional blood flow to aid healing. Use dental floss after brushing to get trapped plaque from in between your teeth and rinse with warm water.
See your dentist as soon as possible. You can treat the pain of gum disease and improve your oral hygiene, but nothing is a better preventive treatment than a professional cleaning. If your gum disease has advanced, your dentist might have to clean down to the roots to get rid of bacteria. Additionally, your dentist might prescribe an oral antibiotic after treatment, to make sure all of the infection is gone. Maintain a regular schedule of seeing your dentist to prevent gum disease from returning.