The 4 Best Home Remedies for Sore Gums, According to Dentists

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Sore gums are uncomfortable, so if you're searching for soothing remedies for gum discomfort, that's totally understandable. Just know that sore gums can often be a sign of an oral health issue like gum disease, so your first line of defense should be a visit to your dentist to address the underlying problem.

Sometimes the issue is as simple as poor oral hygiene—say, inadequate brushing and flossing—that results in increased inflammation of the gums, along with soreness, says Kevin Sands, DDS, a board-certified cosmetic dentist based in Beverly Hills, California. Other times, hormonal changes (like during pregnancy or before your period), allergic reactions, or even certain medications may be to blame for gum soreness, he notes.

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Bottom line is, get an appointment with your dentist scheduled to figure out the best long-term solution for your achy mouth. And try these dentist-approved home remedies for sore gums to bring down the discomfort in the meantime.

Apply a cold compress

Cold naturally numbs the gums, reduces swelling, and alleviates pain associated with sore gums, which is why you're often given an ice pack at your local dentist's office after a dental procedure, Dr. Sands says.

He suggests taking a cold compress or simply wrapping ice in a cloth and applying it to the outside of the mouth. “Wrap a few ice cubes in a clean cloth and hold it against the outside of your cheek, near the sore gums, for 10 to 15 minutes,” he says. “Repeat as needed throughout the day, but be sure to avoid direct contact between the ice and your gums to prevent further irritation.”

Rinse with saltwater

Thanks to salt’s natural antibacterial properties, it can help reduce inflammation and kill off harmful bacteria lurking inside your mouth, Dr. Sands says. This can help relieve gum pain and offer quick relief for inflamed gums.

He recommends mixing about half a teaspoon of regular kitchen salt into a cup of warm water. “Rinse your mouth with the solution for about 30 seconds, then spit it out,” he says. “Repeat this two to three times a day, especially after meals or whenever your gums feel sore.”

Apply aloe vera gel

You might think aloe vera gel is reserved only for your skin and scalp, but its anti-inflammatory benefits also extend to your mouth, making it the best gum pain relief gel. Derived from the leaves of the aloe vera plant, aloe vera has both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, so it can help soothe inflamed gums and promote healing.

“Apply a small amount of aloe vera gel directly to the affected gums using a clean finger or cotton swab,” says Dr. Sands. “Leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse your mouth with water.” He recommends repeating this two to three times daily until your symptoms improve.

Try turmeric paste

This bright gold spice (that you probably have in your kitchen cabinet) contains curcumin, which has natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

“Turmeric can help reduce gum inflammation and fight bacteria that contribute to soreness,” says Dr. Sands. He recommends mixing about half a teaspoon of turmeric powder with a small amount of water to form a paste. “Apply the paste to the affected gums and leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse your mouth thoroughly with water,” he says. “Use this remedy once daily until symptoms subside.”

What to avoid with sore gums

While there are several natural solutions for gum pain, there are also some treatments or practices that may not be safe or effective—and it's important to avoid them.

One such remedy that Dr. Sands recommends avoiding is the overuse of mouthwash containing alcohol. “Mouthwashes with high alcohol content can be harsh on the gums and may exacerbate inflammation or irritation,” he says. “Instead, opt for alcohol-free mouthwash or gentle mouthwashes to avoid further discomfort.”

You might have read that applying aspirin directly to the gums can alleviate discomfort, but Dr. Sands warns this is actually more likely to lead to chemical burns and further irritation of the gums. It's safer to use other remedies like saltwater rinses or aloe vera gel.

Using hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash is also a no-go. While hydrogen peroxide has antibacterial properties, Dr. Sands warns that it can also be abrasive and irritating to the gums, especially when used in high concentrations or for prolonged periods. “It's best to avoid using hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash and stick to gentler alternatives,” he adds.

Last but not least, be sure not to avoid dental hygiene altogether. “While certain home remedies for sore gums can provide temporary relief, they should not replace regular dental hygiene practices such as brushing, flossing, and routine dental check-ups,” says Dr. Sands. “Neglecting oral hygiene can exacerbate gum inflammation and contribute to the progression of gum disease.”

How to prevent sore gums

While anyone can experience sore gums, those most prone are people who do not take proper care of their teeth. “Everyday habits such as regular brushing and flossing are so important, as is avoiding tobacco, which can contribute to gum disease and irritation, making smokers more prone to sore gums,” says Alexander Vaiman, DDS, a cosmetic dentist with Dental Arts NY in Manhattan.

Follow these tips to help ward off sore gums altogether.

Maintain good oral hygiene

As mentioned, taking the normal precautions to care for your teeth by brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily to remove plaque and food particles that can irritate the gums and lead to inflammation, is the key to preventing sore gums and dental issues overall. It’s also vital that you avoid smoking and chewing tobacco, which can weaken the immune system, impair blood flow to the gums, and increase the risk of gum disease and inflammation.

See your dentist regularly

Don’t skip out on your regular dental check-ups—which you should be having every six months. These visits are essential for detecting and addressing any early signs of gum disease or other oral health issues, notes Dr. Sands. “Your dentist can provide professional cleanings, identify potential problems, and offer personalized advice for maintaining healthy gums,” he says.

Be mindful of your diet

“A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help support gum health by providing essential nutrients like vitamin C and calcium,” says Dr. Sands. He suggests cutting back on sugary snacks and beverages, as they can contribute to plaque buildup and increase the risk of gum disease.

Manage stress

Did you know that stress can weaken the immune system and increase inflammation throughout the body, including in the gums? Dr. Sands suggests practicing stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or exercise to help alleviate stress and promote overall health, including gum health.

When should you see a dentist about sore gums?

If you’re experiencing soreness in your gums that’s not letting up no matter what remedies you try, you should see a dentist. Additionally, if the soreness is accompanied by bad breath, you notice any color changes, or if your gums are receding, you should also see a dentist, explains Dr. Vaiman. “Early detection and intervention can prevent the progression of oral health issues and promote overall gum health,” he says.


What soothes inflamed gums?

To soothe inflamed gums, Dr. Sands recommends gargling with saltwater, applying aloe vera gel, using a cold compress, taking over-the-counter pain relievers, and avoiding irritants like tobacco and acidic foods. If symptoms persist, see a dentist for further evaluation and treatment.

What is the fastest way to heal a gum infection?

The fastest way to heal a gum infection is to see a dentist promptly for professional evaluation and treatment. They may prescribe antibiotics or recommend specific procedures to address the infection effectively.

How do I heal a sore on my gum?

To heal a sore on your gum you should keep your mouth clean by rinsing after you eat. Dr. Vaiman also recommends avoiding spicy foods when you have a sore in your mouth because spicy foods can cause more pain and irritation.

Does rubbing salt on gums help?

Rubbing salt directly on gums is not recommended as it can cause irritation and discomfort. However, Dr. Sands notes that rinsing with a saltwater solution (dissolving salt in warm water) can be beneficial for soothing sore gums and reducing inflammation. “The saltwater rinse can help kill bacteria and promote healing,” he adds.

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