- Gum Cuts are wounds or lacerations on the soft tissue of the gum
- These cuts can result from accidental bites, brushing too hard, flossing, dental procedures, or consuming hard or sharp-edged foods
- Almost everyone has experienced a gum cut at some point in their life
- The oral cavity has a robust healing capacity. Most minor gum cuts will heal on their own in a few days
- While most gum cuts are benign, they can be an entry point for infections. Therefore, maintaining oral hygiene is crucial
Gum Cuts Locations: Where you can get cuts?
The gums, being soft tissue, are vulnerable to injuries.
Here are the common locations within the oral cavity where one can sustain gum cuts:
- Interdental Papilla: This is the triangular gum tissue located between two teeth. Its proximity to the biting surfaces of teeth makes it vulnerable to injuries.
- Gingival Margin: The border where the gum tissue meets the base of the teeth. Constant rubbing, especially from misaligned teeth, can result in cuts here.
- Attached Gingiva: This refers to the part of the gum that is firmly bound to the underlying bone. It’s less mobile than the other parts, making it more susceptible to trauma, especially during dental procedures.
- Soft Palate and Inner Cheeks: While not precisely the gums, these areas are also prone to cuts, especially from hot or sharp foods and accidental bites.
Gum Cuts Appearence: What does Cut on Gums Look Like?
The appearance of gum cuts can vary based on the cause and severity of the injury:
- Superficial Cuts: Minor abrasions might appear as light pink or whitish lines or marks on the gum. They may have slight swelling surrounding them but typically don’t bleed much.
- Deep Cuts: More pronounced than superficial ones, they might have an open appearance. The surrounding area could appear reddish due to inflammation, and they might bleed more than superficial cuts.
- Ulcerations: If the gum cut gets infected or doesn’t heal properly, it can turn into an ulcer. These look like white or yellowish depressions surrounded by red, inflamed tissue.
- Bleeding Points: Especially after a fresh injury, the gum cut might appear as a bleeding point. Over time, this may coagulate and form a darker clot over the wound.
Gum Cuts Treatment: How to Heal Cut on Gums?
- Salt Water Rinse
- Using warm salt water is a traditional remedy to treat gum cuts. Salt has antimicrobial properties which can prevent infection.
- Mix half a teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water.
- Swish around the mouth for about 30 seconds and then spit out.
- Repeat this 2-3 times a day.
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- A mild antiseptic, it can be used to clean wounds in the mouth.
- Mix equal parts of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water.
- Swish around the affected area for about 30 seconds and spit out.
- This can be done once or twice a day. Do not swallow.
- Topical Gel or Ointment
There are over-the-counter topical treatments available, specifically for oral injuries. These can provide pain relief and also promote healing.
- Oral Pain Relievers
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, can be taken if the pain is bothersome. Always follow the recommended dose and check for contraindications.
- Avoid Irritants
It’s essential to avoid spicy, acidic, or hot foods that can irritate the cut. Also, refrain from alcohol and tobacco, which can delay the healing process.
- Maintain Good Oral Hygiene
Continue with regular oral care routines like brushing and flossing, but be gentle around the injured area.
If the gum cut is deep or caused by a dental appliance, it’s best to consult a dentist. They may provide specific ointments, adjust the appliance, or in rare cases, stitch up the wound.
Gum Cuts Healing Time
The oral cavity tends to heal faster than other parts of the body, thanks to the rich blood supply.
Here’s a general breakdown of the healing time for gum cuts:
- Minor Cuts: Most superficial gum cuts start healing within a day or two and might completely heal in about 3-7 days.
- Deeper Cuts: These can take a bit longer, often between 10-14 days. However, significant improvement can be observed within the first week.
- Complicated Cuts: If the cut is associated with other dental issues or gets infected, the healing can be delayed. In such cases, the healing time varies and might need professional dental care.
Gum Cuts in Children and Their Prevention
Gum injuries are quite common among children due to their active nature and curiosity.
Common Causes in Children
- Falls: Children, especially toddlers learning to walk or kids playing, can fall and injure their gums.
- Chewing on Objects: Children often chew on toys, pencils, or other hard objects, which can cause cuts.
- Dental Procedures: Procedures like placing braces can sometimes result in minor gum injuries.
- Rough Play: Playful fights or contact sports without proper protective gear can lead to injuries.
Unique Challenges in Children
- Pain Perception: Children might feel more discomfort or pain from a gum injury than adults.
- Communication: Younger children might not be able to accurately express or show where the pain is coming from.
- Fear of Treatment: Kids often fear dental procedures or treatments, making it crucial for parents and dentists to use gentle and reassuring approaches.
Prevention of Cuts on Gums
- Mouth Guards: If your child is involved in contact sports, ensure they wear a mouth guard. It provides a protective barrier, reducing the risk of cuts and other oral injuries.
- Safe Toys: Ensure that the toys your child plays with are free from sharp edges. Also, discourage the habit of putting non-food objects in their mouth.
- Proper Dental Appliances: If your child requires dental braces or other appliances, regular dental check-ups can ensure they fit correctly and don’t cause any gum injuries.
- Childproofing the House: Especially for toddlers, it’s essential to childproof your home. Ensure there are no sharp objects they can fall onto, and secure furniture that might topple.
- Oral Hygiene: Teach your child the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene. Regular brushing and flossing can prevent gum diseases that might make the gums more susceptible to cuts.
- Supervised Play: Always supervise young children during playtime, especially in environments where there’s a risk of falling or getting hurt.
- Educate: As children grow, educate them about the importance of oral safety, especially when participating in physical activities or sports.
Prevention of Cuts on Gums
- Dental Appliances: Ensure dental appliances, such as braces or retainers, fit properly. Ill-fitting devices can cause abrasions on the gums.
- Diet Choices: Be cautious while consuming hard or crispy foods like chips, hard candies, or certain fruits and vegetables with sharp edges.
- Proper Oral Tools: Use soft-bristled toothbrushes to prevent gum injury during brushing. Avoid toothpicks and instead opt for soft interdental brushes or floss.
- Avoid Mouth Jewelry: Lip or tongue piercings can sometimes cause injuries to the gums. If you already have them, ensure they are secured correctly.
- Mouth Guards: If involved in contact sports or activities that may cause facial injury, always wear a protective mouth guard.
Home remedies for mild cuts: What should I do if I injure my gums?
- Cold Compress: Apply a cold compress or an ice pack wrapped in a thin cloth to the affected area. This can reduce swelling and numb the pain temporarily. Remember never to apply ice directly to the skin or gums.
- Salt Water Rinse: Gargle with warm salt water. This can help cleanse the wound and reduce bacteria in the mouth, preventing infections.
- Over-the-counter Pain Relievers: Non-prescription pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help alleviate pain. Always use as directed and ensure they don’t interact with any other medications you may be taking.
- Topical Oral Gels: Over-the-counter oral gels or ointments can help numb the affected area and provide temporary pain relief.
- Maintain Oral Hygiene: Continue brushing and flossing, but be gentle around the injured area. Keeping the mouth clean can prevent infections.
- Avoid Irritants: Stay away from spicy, acidic, or hot foods and beverages, which can exacerbate the pain.
- Aloe Vera: The gel from the aloe vera plant can soothe the injured area. Ensure you’re using pure aloe vera gel and not a product with added chemicals.
Can I get an infection from a gum cut?
The mouth is home to a plethora of bacteria, some beneficial and some harmful. When there’s an open wound, such as a cut in the gums, harmful bacteria have an easier path to enter the bloodstream or deeper tissues.
Signs of Infection
- Persistent or increasing pain
- Swelling around the cut area
- Pus discharge from the wound
- Foul odor or bad taste
- Fever or feeling unwell
Prevention: What should I do to prevent infections?
- Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly
- Rinse your mouth with salt water to disinfect the area
- Avoid irritants, such as spicy or acidic foods, which could aggravate the cut
- Refrain from smoking or using tobacco products, as they can delay healing and increase the risk of infection
When to seek professional care?
It’s essential to monitor the wound to ensure it’s healing correctly.
Seek professional dental care if:
- The bleeding doesn’t stop: If the cut continues to bleed after applying pressure for more than 10 minutes, it might be deeper than initially thought.
- The cut is large or deep: Large or deep cuts may require professional cleaning or even sutures to heal correctly.
- Signs of infection appear: If any of the symptoms listed above (like swelling, pus, or fever) develop, it’s essential to get professional help immediately.
- The pain worsens or doesn’t improve: Persistent or increasing pain is a sign that something isn’t right and should be checked.
- The cut hasn’t healed within a week: While minor gum injuries can heal within a few days, if there’s no improvement in a week, see a dentist.
- You have a compromised immune system: Individuals with weakened immune systems, due to conditions like diabetes or undergoing treatments like chemotherapy, are at a higher risk of infections and should see a dentist even for minor gum injuries.
When cut on gum is an emergency?
- Profuse bleeding: If the bleeding doesn’t subside after 15 minutes of applying continuous pressure, it can be considered an emergency.
- Deep cuts: Cuts that are noticeably deep or large might need stitches or other medical interventions to heal properly.
- Foreign objects: If the gum injury is due to a foreign object that remains lodged in the gums, this requires urgent attention.
- Trauma: If the gum cut is accompanied by other injuries, like broken teeth or jaw injuries, you should seek emergency care.
- Unbearable pain: Pain that’s not manageable by over-the-counter painkillers may indicate a more severe issue.
- Swelling or difficulty breathing: If swelling develops rapidly and begins to interfere with breathing, this is a medical emergency and requires immediate attention.
What foods should I eat if I have a cut on my gums?
- Soft foods: Opt for foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes, and scrambled eggs that don’t require much chewing and won’t aggravate the wound.
- Cold foods: Cold foods like ice cream or chilled fruit smoothies can offer relief by numbing the area and reducing inflammation.
- Avoid spicy and acidic foods: These can irritate the cut and delay the healing process.
- Skip crunchy and hard foods: Foods like chips, nuts, and hard candies can reopen the wound or press against the injured area.
- Drink with a straw: This can help keep liquids away from the injured area, especially if the cut is near the front of the mouth.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking water can help rinse away bacteria and debris, promoting a clean environment for the wound to heal.
While gum cuts are common, it’s essential to pay attention to them. They usually heal on their own, but keeping the mouth clean and avoiding irritants can help expedite the healing process. While often minor, they can sometimes escalate into emergencies that require immediate medical attention. If you notice persistent gum cuts or those that don’t heal, it might be a sign of an underlying condition and warrants a visit to the dentist. Always prioritize oral hygiene to minimize the risk of infections and complications.
This article is complete and was published on September 1, 2023, and last updated on September 1, 2023.