What Are the Common Causes of Pus in the Gums?

A woman with healthy gums.
Continue flossing even if gingivitis is present in the gums.
Article Details
  • Written By: Madeleine A.
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 09 April 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
There has never been a documented human death associated with a tarantula bite.  more...

April 19 ,  1775 :  The American Revolution began.  more...

Pus in the gums is caused by a bacterial infection. Many times, people report a bad taste in the mouth as well as a lump in the area of the infection. An oral or gum infection can be caused by poor hygiene, pyorrhea, or gingivitis. Pyorrhea is an infection that causes pus to form in the tooth sockets or gums. Treatment for pus in the gums depends upon the cause, which the dentist will determine.

In addition to pus, an oral infection may cause a number of uncomfortable symptoms. These include swollen or painful gums, toothache, sore throat, and swollen glands. Patients may also experience a fever, headache, and nausea.

A gum infection that produces pus in the gums is often treated with oral antibiotics. In addition to antibiotic therapy, the dentist will clean out the infected area or pocket, and recommend an anti-bacterial mouthwash. Sometimes, an abscessed tooth can cause pus to form in the tooth socket or surrounding gum area. When this occurs, the tooth may need to be extracted to make sure that the infection is effectively treated. Antibiotics are also usually prescribed in cases where a tooth abscess causes a purulent infection.


Dentists usually encourage patients with poor hygiene to brush and floss regularly. The dentist also needs to take a complete medical history from the patient because certain medications and medical conditions can cause gingivitis, which can lead to pus in the gums. Medications to treat seizures can cause gingivitis, as can pregnancy and menopause. Gingivitis can cause the gums to bleed, which may cause certain people to avoid flossing their teeth. Flossing should continue despite bleeding gums, and the bleeding will stop once the gums regain their health.

A general dentist is well qualified to treat common conditions of the gums. Conditions that produce severe or chronic infections, however, should be treated by a specialist known as a periodontist. The general dentist can refer the patient to an experienced periodontist who can evaluate and treat conditions contributing to pus in the gums.

An infection that causes pus in the gums can also cause people to feel sick. When pus is swallowed, it can cause a systemic infection, producing fever, chills, nausea, muscle pain, and fatigue. A full course of oral antibiotics may be recommended to alleviate a bacterial infection caused by pus in the gums. The person needs to be reminded to complete the entire course of antibiotics, because failure to do so could lead to an incomplete resolution of the infection.


Discuss this Article

Post 2

I had an infection in my mouth a few years back. At first I just thought that I had a cut on my gums, but after a few days the cut became inflamed and then I started to get a very weird taste in my mouth.

I finally decided to see a doctor and they prescribed a course of oral antibiotics as treatment. I had to take the drugs for about two weeks, but the infection started clearing up in a mater of days. Luckily there have been no lasting effects.

Post 1
I think that I may have some pus in my gums right now. Is this a problem I can treat by brushing or using mouthwash, or do I need to see a dentists right away?

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?