Conditions,  Dental Hygiene,  Q&A

Hit Gum With a Toothbrush – What Should I Do?

This article is a part of our Q&A series in which we give detailed answers to our readers' questions. Have a question? Don't hesitate and send it to us to get a detailed answer!

Hitting your gum with a toothbrush is a common occurrence, but if done with force or using a hard-bristled brush, it can cause discomfort or injury to the gums. This guide will help you understand the effects of hitting your gum with a toothbrush, and how to manage and prevent such incidents.

Immediate Action to Take After Hitting Gum With a Toothbrush

While brushing, the bristles of the toothbrush can sometimes slip and hit the gums. The impact can range from mild discomfort to causing a small wound or abrasion.
Here’s what to do if this already happened to you:

  • Stop Brushing: As soon as you realize you have hit your gum, stop brushing to prevent further damage.
  • Rinse Your Mouth: Rinse your mouth gently with cold water. This will help clean the area and can reduce any swelling or pain.
  • Apply a Cold Compress: If there is any swelling, you can apply a cold compress to the outside of your cheek near the injured gum area for a few minutes to reduce it.
  • Assess the Damage: Check if there’s any bleeding or a visible wound. If it’s a minor injury, it will usually heal on its own with proper care.

Managing the Injury

  • Be Gentle When Brushing: For the next few days, be extra gentle when brushing, especially around the injured area.
  • Use a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush: If you’re not already using one, switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush. They are less likely to injure your gums.
  • Saltwater Rinse: Rinse your mouth with a warm saltwater solution (1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water) a couple of times a day. This can help keep the wound clean and promote healing.
  • Avoid Irritants: Stay away from hot, spicy foods or anything that could irritate the wound until it’s healed.
  • Monitor for Infection: Keep an eye on the wound for any signs of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, or pus. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact a dentist.


  • Proper Brushing Technique: Use gentle, circular motions to clean the teeth and gums, and avoid aggressive side-to-side motions.
  • Use the Right Tools: Opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that isn’t too abrasive.
  • Be Mindful: Pay attention while brushing. Being aware and present can prevent accidental slips.
  • Regular Dental Check-ups: Regular check-ups can help your dentist to identify any issues with your gums or brushing technique.

When to See a Dentist

Although most injuries from hitting your gum with a toothbrush are minor, it’s important to see a dentist if:

  • The wound does not start to heal after a couple of days
  • There are signs of infection (redness, swelling, or pus)
  • You experience severe pain or the injury is extensive

Bottom Line

Hitting your gum with a toothbrush can be painful but is usually a minor injury. Being gentle, using the right tools, and following proper brushing techniques can help prevent such accidents. If the wound shows any signs of infection or doesn’t start to heal within a few days, it’s important to seek dental advice. Proper oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups are vital for overall dental health.

This Q&A series article is complete and was published on July 27, 2023, and last updated on July 27, 2023.

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