While it is essential that you floss your teeth on a regular basis, overzealous flossing can cause serious injuries to your gum tissue. If not treated quickly, severe pain, inflammation, and infection can develop. If you injure your gums while flossing, make an appointment with your dentist. In the meantime, here are some home remedies that may help keep you comfortable while waiting for your dental appointment:
Rinse With Salt Water
Saltwater rinses are very soothing to injured gum tissues. Not only can salt water help relieve pain and reduce inflammation, but it may also help prevent an infection from developing. Salt has potent antibacterial properties and, in addition to healing injured gum tissue, may also help reduce your risk for gingivitis.
To make a saltwater rinse, take a small pinch of salt and mix it with a cup of warm water. Gently swish the solution around your mouth for a few seconds, making sure that it makes contact with your injury, and then spit it out.
Avoid swallowing the saltwater solution because it can cause an upset stomach. It is important to note that if you have high blood pressure or kidney disease, you should not keep the saltwater solution in your mouth for more than a couple of seconds. Even if you do not swallow the solution, the salt can be absorbed through the pores in your mouth and may affect your blood pressure and kidney function, although this is uncommon.
Another effective home remedy to help soothe a gum injury caused by aggressive flossing is hydrogen peroxide. You can either dab a small amount of peroxide on the injured area with a swab or dilute a capful of the peroxide in a cup of warm water to swish around your mouth.
The antibacterial bubbling action of the peroxide will effectively clean out the injury while helping to prevent an infection. The peroxide mixture may also help diminish inflammation and ease the irritation of your cut gum.
Like with the saltwater rinse, do not swallow the hydrogen peroxide mixture. Doing so may irritate your throat or cause abdominal cramping. While rinsing your mouth with a diluted hydrogen peroxide mixture can help promote healing of your gum tissue, only use it until you can see your dentist because exposing your gums to too much peroxide may be irritating and may even cause your gums to lighten or turn white.
Black tea is a rich source of tannins. This substance can help soothe irritated soft tissues such as your gums while helping to reduce the risk for infection. Tannins have strong antiseptic properties and may be a good choice to consider if you have sustained a gum injury as a result of vigorous flossing.
To try this method, steep a tea bag in hot water for a few minutes and then let it cool. Squeeze out the excess liquid and then apply the tea bag to the affected area of your gum. You can repeat this method as needed.
You can also use this method to soothe the pain and inflammation of canker sores, oral burns, and even toothaches. Also, if you are bleeding from your gum injury, hold the tea bag over the cut for a few minutes because the tannins will help stop the flow of blood.
If you have injured your gums because of flossing too hard, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. In the meantime, consider trying some of the above methods to help relieve your pain, diminish swelling, stop bleeding, and reduce your risk for developing an infection. While these home remedies will help you feel more comfortable, they should not be used as a substitute for seeing your dentist.