Why does the gum between my teeth hurt?

gum pain between teeth
Teeth or gum pain can be unbearable and require emergency care. Sometimes we feel it on the gum between our teeth. This area is called the interdental papilla and is known to be more sensitive than the rest of the gum surrounding the tooth.

Pain can have different meanings. It is most often due to a gum injury caused by food buildup in this area.

If the pain persists even with good hygiene measures, it is necessary to see your dentist to identify the exact reason and the appropriate treatment.

Find out in this article where the pain between the gums can come from, the associated symptoms, and how to relieve it.

The gum between our teeth

The gum between the teeth or the interdental papilla is a triangular-shaped gum protrusion that follows the contour of our teeth. It fills the space between the teeth and prevents food from accumulating, which would lead to cavities.

The gums between the teeth also have an important role in the smile expression. Their absence would leave empty spaces between the teeth, appearing as black triangles when you smile.

Because of its location and sensitivity, it is prone to recession and inflammation, especially with poor oral hygiene.

why does the gum between my teeth hurt?

The pain feeling between the teeth is not uncommon. Anyone can experience it, whether it is due to a cavity, gum disease, or a foreign body stuck between the teeth and causing gum irritation.

1. Accumulation of food debris between the teeth

Under healthy conditions, teeth are aligned and touch each other through contact points. They act as a barrier to protect the gums between the teeth and prevent food from accumulating.

teeth contact point

Different factors can cause the loss of these contacts, including caries between the teeth, tooth shifting, especially after an extraction, tooth wear, an ill-fitting filling, and a fracture.

When teeth no longer touch properly, food will accumulate in the space between them, irritating the gums. It will result in inflammation that can be marked and associated with bleeding.

Gum inflammation between the teeth can cause moderate pain that persists as long as the food is stuck in these spaces. Usually, it intensifies during meals. You may also feel a bad taste in your mouth. Sometimes the pain can spread to your jaws.

How do I know if my teeth are touching each other properly?

The contact point is fine when you floss between your teeth and hear a "clicking" sound when you pull the floss down. The same thing should happen when you pull the floss out. It should move freely in the interdental space and not catch on to anything. However, if the floss tears, does not penetrate the interdental space, or enters easily without making the "clicking" sound, it means that the contact point is not well established and must be reconstituted by your dentist.

2. Gum disease

Gum disease is one of the most common problems in the world. The most common form is gingivitis, defined as inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria.

In the presence of plaque or tartar, our body will respond with localized inflammation on the gums to repel the bacteria.

Red, swollen, bleeding gums are the first signs to notice. The good news is that gingivitis is reversible. Usually, improving oral hygiene is enough to treat it without leaving any after-effects.

In some forms, the gums increase in volume, especially at the interdental papillae, hiding portion or the whole teeth. This is often triggered by certain medications or hormonal changes.

If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to the bone that supports the teeth and lead to bone loss. In an advanced stage, it can lead to tooth loss.
The gums between the teeth will start to recede, leaving black holes. At this point, the disease is irreversible and strictly requires treatment by your dentist.

In extreme situations, our body may respond with severe inflammation resulting in abscess formation. They appear as swellings with symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain.
You should also notice pus flowing around your teeth, a bad taste in your mouth, tooth loosening, and a fever.
A gum abscess is an emergency that must be treated quickly to prevent the infection from spreading throughout your body.

3. Tooth decay

Have you thought about tooth decay? Tooth decay between teeth is also very common because these spaces are difficult to clean when brushing. Their evolution can go unnoticed until you feel pain.

At first, the pain is triggered by the cold, but if left untreated, the decay can progress to the pulp where the nerves and blood vessels of the tooth are present. At this stage, the pain can be severe and self-induced.

Regular visits to your dentist and flossing are essential measures to control and prevent the formation of cavities in these spaces.

How to relieve pain between the gums?

To relieve gum pain between your teeth, you must first remove the root cause. Start by improving your oral hygiene by brushing your teeth at least twice a day for 3 minutes.

Don't forget to floss once a day. It helps clean the spaces between your teeth and prevents the accumulation of food that can irritate your gums.

You can also rinse your mouth with saltwater at a rate of ½ teaspoon of salt per 8 ounces of water. Do this 3 times a day for a week. This mouthwash is effective in sanitizing your mouth and reducing gum swelling.

Generally, the pain disappears as soon as the foreign body stuck between your teeth is removed. If the pain persists for more than a week, you should see your dentist. He will evaluate your gums and look for possible causes. He or she may do scaling to remove tartar or any buildup.

If there is a cavity, he will remove it and restore the tooth with a filling. If the tooth is already filled, he will make sure that the filling is done properly and that it is not the cause of the pain.

The goal of any treatment is to restore a healthy contact point between the teeth to protect your gums.

Afterward, your dentist will prescribe mouthwash and oral hygiene measures to prevent the recurrence of this problem.

If you have an abscess, your dentist will prescribe an antibiotic for one week. After the infection and inflammation have disappeared, it is often necessary to do a periodontal surgery to clean your gums thoroughly.