Why do my gums sometimes itch?

Many people wonder why they have itchy gums. Is it possible that it is an oral disease or stress? Could it even be due to hormonal changes?

Itchy gums is a common problem. It is usually a sign that something is wrong and the cause is usually plaque buildup and gum disease. However, plaque and gum disease are not the only culprits. Hormones, allergies, injuries and more can also play a role.


Itchy gums can occur when the gum tissue is inflamed or irritated. Irritation can be due to a number of causes, and visiting a dentist is the best way to find out what’s causing it.

too much plaque

Plaque is a colorless, sticky substance that can coat your teeth and gums. It forms when food and mucus combine with bacteria in the mouth and can build up when you don’t floss or brush your teeth. This can lead to itchy gums, bleeding and tenderness.

Plaque can also build up when you have extra mucus, like when you have a cold or sinus infection. However, even if it happens when we are infected with COVID-19, itchy gums is not a common symptom.

gum disease

Excess plaque buildup can eventually lead to gingivitis, a form of gum disease. Gingivitis can make the gums itchy and tender and look puffy and swollen. It can also cause bad breath along with bleeding when brushing or flossing.

The first phase of gum disease is gingivitis. Another name for gum disease is periodontal disease. Gingivitis is a mild form of the disease and is caused by a buildup of plaque. At this stage, where itching is a symptom, it is likely that the gingivitis has not caused any further complications.

Dry mouth

The gums can feel itchy when they do not have enough saliva to keep the mouth moist. Dry mouth can have several possible causes, and not all of them are serious.

The problem becomes more common with age. Feeling anxious or stressed can also cause dry mouth, as can medications used to treat high blood pressure, depression, or bladder control problems. It can also be a side effect of chemotherapy, radiation, or nerve damage to the salivary glands.

grind your teeth

Frequent tooth grinding or other injury to the gums can cause itchiness (as well as headaches or facial pain). Bruxing for a long time can open wounds and erode the enamel, causing the gums to recede. This can cause itchy gums.

Other symptoms of teeth grinding include toothaches, facial pain, and headaches, especially when we get up in the morning.

Hormonal changes

It’s not uncommon for gums to itch during pregnancy, before your period, or during menopause. However, surges in hormones can increase blood flow to the gums and change the way the tissue reacts to plaque, leading to itchiness.

We may also notice increased sensitivity or bleeding while brushing or flossing. Although the sensation can be uncomfortable, it is normal and should subside once hormone levels level off.


Smoking and vaping e-cigarettes are not only bad for your lungs, but can also make your mouth feel uncomfortable.

Nicotine, a chemical found in cigarettes and their electronic equivalents, contains irritants that cause gums to swell. An allergic reaction to some component may even appear.

Misplaced dental device

Oral treatments like dental implants, bridges, and dentures can be itchy when they don’t fit well. The spaces between the dental devices and the gums will mean that food particles can easily slip through. The longer food scraps stay there, the more bacteria will hatch from them and an infection could develop.

This can cause the gums to become tender, swollen, and itchy.

Allergic reaction

Eating, drinking, or touching a substance to which we are allergic can cause itching and swelling of the skin and mouth. So if we get itchy gums after eating certain foods, allergies may be to blame. Some people even describe it as a tingling or burning sensation in the mouth.

Some people are also allergic to sodium lauryl sulfate, a chemical found in some toothpastes. If we have itchy gums after brushing our teeth, we can try a toothpaste without sodium sulfate. During an allergic reaction, we may also experience red or watery eyes, a runny nose, or, in severe cases, shortness of breath.

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Like treating a toothache, treating itchy gums involves addressing the underlying cause. That starts with seeing the dentist.

Procedures and medications

  • Antihistamines – If itchy gums are the result of allergies, an antihistamine may stop the symptoms.
  • Dental guards – We can prevent further damage to the teeth by wearing a guard while playing contact sports and while sleeping.
  • Plaque Scraping – This power tool can help the dentist remove tartar and plaque buildup above and below the gum line. Brushing alone is unlikely to remove this buildup.
  • Root planing – Your dentist may use this procedure to remove severe tartar buildup due to receding gums. This gives your teeth and gums a fresh surface so they can re-attach to healthy tissue.
  • Laser – This procedure removes plaque and tartar and can be an effective treatment in addition to traditional scaling and planing.

Home remedies and personal care

  • Proper Dental Hygiene – Brushing and flossing twice a day is vital for good oral health. We should also consider using a toothpaste designed to prevent tartar and plaque buildup. If we have a problem with inflammation or infections of the gums, an antiseptic mouthwash without alcohol can also be a good idea. Taking good care of your teeth and gums in the first place can go a long way in preventing future problems.
  • Salt water : we will dissolve a teaspoon of salt in 230 cl of warm water. We will gently move the water in the mouth and spit it out. Salt water can relieve itchy and sore gums.
  • Ice cubes : We will gently suck on ice cubes to cool the gums and stop itching. As a bonus, ice cubes can help hydrate.
  • Lifestyle changes – Smoking can irritate the health of your gums. Quitting smoking can make the itching stop. This includes quitting e-cigarettes and vaping. Avoiding foods that irritate the gums can also help. Spicy, acidic, starchy or sugary foods are the most common culprits for gum irritation.

How to prevent?

Itchy gums are common, but there are ways to stay away. The main thing is to maintain good oral hygiene. There are also other tips that can help us prevent itchy gums:

  • Do regular cleanings : Visit a dentist twice a year for a deep cleaning. The dentist may also use these appointments to check for any potential future problems.
  • Brush and floss daily : Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. Rinse with alcohol-free antiseptic mouthwash if we have had inflammation and infection problems.
  • Rinse mouth after meals : Brushing would be better, but rinsing will remove food. This can reduce the growth of bacteria.
  • Avoid irritating foods : Acidic, starchy, and sugary foods can aggravate sensitive gums. If we experience itchy gums when we eat these foods, we will reduce them to end the symptoms.