Receding Gums: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

Receding Gums: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

What Is Gum Recession?

Gum recession is a dental condition where the tissue surrounding the teeth begins to wear away. It is a very common dental problem that occurs among people of all ages, but it is also one that tends to go undetected for some time, as many people are unaware they suffer from gum recession due to the way symptoms occur gradually over time. When the gum line recedes, pockets are created between the tooth and gum line. This pocket causes a person to be at greater risk for the buildup of disease-causing bacteria. Although some symptoms may go unnoticed, others include sensitive teeth, tender gums, an appearance of tooth lengthening, exposed roots, or loose teeth.

Why Do Gums Recede?

There are many possible reasons that may cause your gums to recede:

  • Periodontal (gum) disease: bacterial infections that destroy the tissue and bone that hold your teeth in place.
  • Brushing your teeth too aggressively: brushing incorrectly or too aggressively can cause the enamel on your teeth to wear away.
  • Genetics: some people are more prone to receding gums due to inherited factors such as tooth position and gum thickness.
  • Inadequate dental care: lack of brushing, flossing, or other dental hygiene.
  • Smoking and using any kind of tobacco product: tobacco products cause the gum tissue to lose vital blood supplies, allowing for infection.
  • Age: 88% of people over the age of 65 have receding gums in at least one tooth.

Treatments for Gum Recession

When determining treatment for gum recession, it is important to first determine the cause. Once the source is determined, the effects can be lessened or even eliminated through various treatments. For minor cases of gum recession, a dentist or a dental hygienist can deep clean the affected area. For more mild cases of gum recession, gum grafting may be necessary. This procedure involves taking the patient’s healthy gum tissue from the roof of the mouth and grafting it to replace the missing gum tissue. In more severe cases, both the tissue and bone may be damaged. Due to this, a regenerative material is placed in the area of the missing bone to aid the regeneration of bone and tissue

How to Prevent Gum Recession

Prevent gum recession from occurring by following these tips:

  • Use a high-quality toothbrush.
  • Replace your manual toothbrush every four weeks and the head of your electric toothbrush head every three months, as brushing with worn bristles can brush away paramount tooth structure.
  • Don’t brush too aggressively! Many people are unaware that they are brushing their teeth too aggressively, therefore, it’s always a good idea to ask your dentist for a simple “how to” on how to brush correctly and effectively.
  • Schedule regular dental visits (every 4-6 months) as a key element of effective preventative measures.

Gum Recession Consultations

At your next preventative dental cleaning (or sooner, if you’d like), be sure to ask your Cornerstone Family Dentistry hygienist or dentist about any concerns you may have about gum recession.