Painful Gums: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Painful, sore, red gums can be signs and symptoms of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) or, more likely, periodontitis (inflammation of the attachment fibers of the teeth and supporting bone), which can arise due to a number of different causes, including poor oral hygiene with improper brushing or flossing. Inflammation of the gums may manifest as

  • painful gums,
  • sensitivity,
  • redness,
  • swelling, and
  • bleeding of the gums either after brushing or when otherwise irritated.

Gum disease can ultimately lead to receding gums and even damage to the bones of the jaw. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also increase the sensitivity of the gums, which may in some cases lead to soreness or pain. Painful gums can also arise due to localized sores on the gums, such as abscesses or aphthous ulcers (canker sores).

Related Symptoms & Signs

Other causes of painful gums

  • Abscess
  • Bacterial Infection
  • Dental or Orthodontic Procedures
  • Excessively Hard Toothbrushing
  • Malnutrition
  • Poorly Fitting Dentures
  • Poor Oral Hygiene
  • Tartar
  • Tooth Loss
  • Trauma to the Mouth and/or Gums
  • Trench Mouth

Next Article


What causes tooth decay? See Answer

Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Stephen, James M. "Gingivitis." Aug. 3, 2016. <>.