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Why Do You Have Itchy Gums?

We all get itches. Sometimes we're itching for some fresh air. Sometimes we're itching to break a sweat. And sometimes we're itching... our gums? Well, we want to itch our gums. It starts as an odd feeling around our gumline, like a tickle or tingling. Then it can become discomforting. If this is the case for you, see your dentist for their diagnosis. That shouldn't be hard. Neither should treating your itchy, tingling gums so that feeling never returns.

Plaque Buildup

The most likely reason for your itchy gums is plaque. Or rather, a lot of plaque. Plaque is a sticky film found in your mouth atop your teeth and gums, made up of bacteria, sugars, and germs. The more plaque you have, the better your chances of developing tooth decay and cavities. When you miss a day or two of brushing, enter that itchy or tingly feeling from before. That's a buildup of plaque on your teeth and gums. So, like most oral care issues, brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and seeing your dentist twice a year will help eliminate plaque and nip the itching in the bud. Not your taste buds, though. You can keep those.

Gum Disease

Now, if you really let your oral hygiene go, that plaque buildup could lead to periodontal disease. You don't want this. The most common periodontal disease is gingivitis. If that's the case, the itching will seem insignificant to the swelling and bleeding gums that it's associated with. Your dentist can help, fortunately, with a thorough deep cleaning. And then regular oral care from you at home, including a daily mouthwash rinse, should help prevent the itching and gum disease from returning.


While plaque and gum disease are the leading candidates to cause your itchy gums, there are other possibilities. One is allergies. They're known to bringing about itching in your eyes, nose, skin, but gums are also not uncommon. The itchiness is usually triggered in two ways:

  • Certain products (toothpaste, mouthwash, etc.) with specific ingredients can irritate and inflame your gums, leading to itching.
  • Oral allergy syndrome can cause swelling of the lips, scratchiness in the throat, and an itchy mouth and gums. This occurs when cross-reacting allergens are found in pollen, raw fruits, vegetables, or some tree nuts.

Your dentist can recommend certain oral care products with ingredients that irritate your gums and mouth. While your doctor can diagnose what you're allergic to so, you know what to avoid in the future.

After Surgery

The last possible source of your itchy gums could be the result of having some oral surgery. It's not uncommon for your gums to itch after having your wisdom teeth removed, for example. Rinsing with saltwater could help. Speak with your dentist if that doesn't do the trick. The last thing you want to do is scrub and scratch anywhere near the location of your surgery. It could disrupt your healing process.

Chances are plaque and/or gum disease are the culprits causing your itchy gums. And if that's the case, a good oral care routine will drastically improve your situation and squash the itch. If your itch keeps recurring, check-in with your dentist so they can properly examine your gums and teeth. They'll be itching to get to the bottom of your itch as well.

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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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