Itchy Gums

Looking For A Cure For Itchy Gums?


There are a number of individual things that can cause itchy gums. While there are remedies available that can help to relieve the itching, it’s best to first determine what the underlying cause is, and base any treatment on that knowledge, rather than simply addressing the symptom.

Things that can cause itchy gums can usually be placed in one of two broad categories. Either the itching is due to a disease, most likely gingivitis or periodontitis, or it is the result of allergy, which could be a food allergy, an allergy to a medication, or an allergy due to contact with a non-food related allergen. The cure for the itching, therefore, is treating the underlying disease, treating the allergy, or if possible, avoiding the allergen.


Periodontal Disease – A Leading Cause


Periodontal disease, which is a disease of the gums, is somewhat common among adults. It is much more common than it should be, since the disease can usually be avoided by following proper oral hygiene procedures, which mainly consists of brushing and flossing one’s teeth. The most common form of periodontal disease is gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can advance to what is called periodontitis, a more severe case of inflammation, which eventually affects the stability of the teeth. The focus here is on gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums.

Gingivitis is caused by bacteria, which are introduced by food particles that have not been removed from the gums or teeth, allowing plaque to form on the teeth. When the plaque, and the bacteria that make up the plaque, comes into contact with the gums, which is usually between the teeth, the body’s autoimmune system will attack the bacteria, and in the process of doing so cause the gums to become inflamed. The gums may eventually begin to recede, pull away from the teeth, and make the problem even worse.


Symptoms of gingivitis include bleeding gums, swollen gums, and shiny gums. Bad breath is another symptom of gingivitis, and is usually due to excessive amounts of bacteria in the mouth. The most common symptom of gingivitis however is that of itchy gums. Unless it can be proven that it is due to an allergy, this itching should be taken as a warning that an improvement in oral hygiene is probably in order, and most likely a trip to the dentist is as well, to help get the situation under control. In this case, the itching encountered would have to be taken as a good thing, as it is serving notice that unless some action is taken to address the underlying cause, which is gingivitis, far worse symptoms could be experienced in the not too distant future.


Food Allergies And Other Allergies


The aforementioned gum disease is likely the most common cause of itchy gums, at least more so than an allergen, but allergies can and do cause gums to itch. Many food allergies are apt to make the entire mouth, and not just the gums itch or tingle, but there are instances in which it is mainly the gums that are affected.


It would be impossible to make a list of foods that one should avoid to remove any chance of having one’s gums itch. Since different people have different allergies, and some have very strange ones, such a list could be a very long one indeed. Fortunately, few people have food allergies, and it is rare when an individual is allergic to more than one or two food items. If you do have a food allergy, it’s more often than not rather simple to narrow things down to the guilty party or parties. When people have a food allergy, it’s often a raw fruit or vegetable that’s to blame, and the offending fruit or vegetable can usually be eaten without any problem once it’s been cooked. Nuts and spices are other sources of allergens.


Histamines Will Cause Itching


As was the case with gingivitis, it’s the immune system which   directly causes itchy gums when in the case of a food allergy. Instead of attacking bacteria and inflaming the gums, as was the case with gingivitis, the immune system attacks the allergen, using histamines to fight the allergen. It’s the histamines which will cause the gums to start itching.


Histamines are also introduced into the bloodstream to fight other allergens, such as pet dander or pollen, allergens that are not food related. These histamines can cause itching or rashes in other parts of the body, but in some instances can cause the gums to itch as well. What this means is that an allergen doesn’t have to come into direct contact with the gums to cause them to itch.


Successfully treating itchy gums can be quite straightforward – do a better job of brushing your teeth – or not so straightforward – when an allergen is causing the gums to itch, and the allergen it is not a food allergen and therefore may be difficult to pin down. In most cases, a visit to your dentist should help solve the problem, but in a few cases it may take the work of an allergy specialist or an immunologist to find a cure.