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Why Are My Gums Itchy?

Itchy gums can often be a sign of a more serious dental issue, or they may simply be irritated by something you ate or drank. Here are some common reasons your gums may be itchy.

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Itchy or tingling gums may be a sign that there is underlying inflammation. This inflammation can be caused by a newly developing infection, or it could be associated with small hormonal changes or an allergic reaction. Gums hold our teeth, their roots, and the nerves in our mouths. They are strong, but also sensitive to outside environmental factors, and internal health changes. Depending on what is causing your itchy gums, treatment options may vary.

What Can Cause Itchy Gums?

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Itchy gums are uncomfortable. When our mouths feel uncomfortable, it can be difficult to eat, drink, or even sometimes speak without discomfort. If your gums are itching, you may be wondering what exactly is causing it.


Gingivitis is caused by the buildup of plaque and inflammation of the gums. Usually, it is a mild form of gum disease that is caused by the bacteria in your mouth growing at an unhealthy rate due to a lack of proper oral hygiene. The inflammation around the gums with gingivitis can cause an itchy, uncomfortable feeling.


Hormones are much more likely to affect you if have the female hormones progesterone and estrogen. These hormones can lead to more blood flow in your mouth, making it easier for the gums to be more sensitive to minor irritants. These hormone surges could happen due to pregnancy, a menstrual cycle, or due to birth control side effects.


Medications can also cause itchy gums. Common medications that may have an effect on gum sensitivity include blood pressure medication, birth control, antibiotics, and allergy pills like antihistamines. Itchy gums and gum inflammation can be common side effects of these drugs but if the itching becomes too much to handle, it may be worth assessing with a medical professional whether you really need these medications.

Allergic Reactions

Allergies and allergic reactions can also lead to an itchy mouth. When high levels of histamine are released in the body, it can lead to swelling and inflammation of the face, mouth, throat, and even the gums. These could be sensitivities caused by food, pet dander, pollen, and more.

Dry Mouth

Our mouths need saliva to be healthy. When it stops producing enough saliva necessary for speaking, eating, and drinking, it can become dry and uncomfortable. The dryness can lead to itchiness in our mouths. A dry mouth is usually caused by other medical conditions or by taking certain medications.

What Itchy Gum Treatments Are There?

Which treatment your dentist will recommend depends on the cause of your itchy gums. Some causes may be treatable with at-home care but if there is an underlying infection, you may need medical treatment to eradicate any growing infections.

Salt Water Solution

A salt water solution is a great at-home remedy to try while you wait for a proper evaluation with a dental provider. Mixing a small amount of salt in warm water and swishing it around your mouth helps eradicate harmful bacteria while also providing some temporary relief from the pain or itchiness in your gums.

Allergy Medications

While some allergy medications can lead to itchy gums to begin with if the cause of your itchy gums is an allergic reaction to something, an antihistamine drug can calm the inflammation and ease the uncomfortable itching in your gums.

Root Planning

Root planning is a procedure that removes tartar in the mouth that is too difficult to do just by brushing your teeth. A dentist may recommend this treatment if you have increasing gum inflammation from gingivitis or another oral condition.

Scaling Placque

Placque scaling is a procedure that uses a small electric tool to remove the plaque buildup in your mouth. The scaling works by removing plaque from below and above the gum line to ensure all the unhealthy bacteria are removed.

How Can I Prevent Itchy Gums?

Itchy gums can be prevented with the right precautions and dental hygiene. If you avoid certain irritants and regularly visit the dentist for cleanings and check-ups, you can avoid any major gum itching incidents. Here are some common ways to prevent itchy gums:

  • Avoid irritating food or allergens
  • Brush your teeth twice a day
  • Floss at least once daily
  • Assess your medication use
  • Visit the dentist for checkups and a cleaning

If you have concerns about the state of your dental health, contact your dentist to schedule an appointment today.

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Dr. Standish has been serving Clay County patients at Eagle Harbor Dental for over 40 years. His daughters Dr. Kelly & Dr. Erin joined the practice and they’ve been creating beautiful smiles as a family ever since. With extensive educations and memberships, our dentists are the best that Fleming Island has to offer.


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