You go to great lengths to maintain good oral health. You probably brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash after every meal, or at least a couple times each day. You visit the dentist regularly for cleaning and check-up. Perhaps you even avoid acidic or sugary foods in an attempt to prevent enamel erosion, plaque buildup, infection, and other serious oral health conditions.

So when you start to notice itchy gums, you could be understandably concerned. What are you doing wrong? While plaque can certainly irritate gums and cause itching, it isn’t the only reason why your gums might tingle, tickle, burn, or crawl. There are actually a diverse range of causes for itchy gums. Here are a few you might want to know about so you can provide your dentist with pertinent information.

DRY MOUTH

Saliva is designed to keep the mouth hydrated and wash away bacteria and leftover food particles that could lead to tartar, plaque, and other oral health problems. When your mouth isn’t producing sufficient saliva for some reason, it could definitely cause itchy gums, along with a host of other issues.

There’s a good chance you’ll notice when your mouth is dryer than usual, but just in case you don’t, you might want to mention any recent medical conditions or medications you’re taking that could cause you to experience dry mouth and explain your itchy gums. This condition could be easy to address with hydrating mouthwash or other products, but only if you realize dry mouth is to blame.

ALLERGIES

If you’ve suffered from seasonal, food, or other allergies for a while, you probably know that exposure to allergens can cause a variety of symptoms. Some people experience itchy hives on their skin, while others might suffer from swelling of the lips, tongue, and other soft tissues, not to mention itchiness in the mouth. If you have such symptoms, you should discuss them with your doctor and/or dentist. If symptoms worsen, you should seek medical help immediately.

HORMONES

Hormonal fluctuations are responsible for a host of potential side effects, but you might not realize that itchy gums are commonly associated with major hormonal shifts that occur during puberty, pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause. Symptoms may be temporary if hormones are the only cause, but just in case other factors are in play, it’s always best to see your dentist.

INJURY

If you’re keen on contact sports, you’re accident prone, or you simply grind your teeth or clench your jaw due to stress (a condition called bruxism), you could damage your teeth. This, in turn could cause irritated and itchy gums. If itchy gums are related to some kind of trauma, your dentist can diagnose the cause and prescribe a suitable course of treatment.

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