Gum recession: causes and treatments

Healthy gums are an important part of oral health and can be an easily overlooked aspect of mouth care. A regimen to keep them in good shape with twice-daily brushing and daily flossing helps to maintain a healthy smile and even a healthy body. One of the most common concerns of gum health is receding gums. As we age, the tissue surrounding the teeth can shrink and deteriorate, leaving an increasing portion of the teeth exposed, weakened and open to invasion from bacteria. Left untreated, receding gums can lead to tooth loss. All dentists recommend immediate care for receding gums through periodontal treatments. Depending on the patient and their individual conditions, your dental provider will recommend effective procedures, treatments and care to treat the problems of receding gums.

Gum recession occurs when the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth wears away and exposes more of the tooth. This can cause gaps or pockets to form between the teeth and gumline, allowing bacteria to build up and eventually lead to damage to the bone structures of the teeth.

This is a common problem that many people don’t notice. Part of the issue is that three out of four adults have some form of gum disease, which can go unnoticed and lead to gum recession. Identifying gum problems can first be signaled by tooth sensitivity or the tooth will look longer than normal. There may be a notch near the gum line, too.

What causes gum recession?

Several factors can cause the gums to recede, which include:

  • Periodontal diseases. If you have bacterial gum infections destroying your gum tissue, this can cause gum recession.
  • Genes. There are nearly 30% of the population who are predisposed to gum disease, no matter what!
  • Incorrect tooth brushing. If you brush too hard, you can wear the enamel away and cause the gums to recede.
  • Insufficient dental care. Inadequate brushing, flossing make it easier for tartar to form causing gum recession.
  • Hormonal fluctuations. Women’s hormones fluctuate throughout her lifetime, which can cause gums to become more sensitive.
  • Bruxism. Excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching cause the teeth to shift. This pressure leads to a breakdown of the strength and structure of the jaws and ultimately gum recession

How to prevent gum recession

The simplest way to prevent gum recession is to maintain healthy dental habits. This is because plaque builds up and irritates the gums which can lead to gingivitis, that is easily reversible. If allowed to progress this can lead to periodontitis, which then destroys the bone and soft tissue that supports the teeth. Proper dental hygiene and regular visits to the dentist are the best ways to prevent gum recession. If you are predisposed to gum disease, however, you may be afflicted no matter how diligent you are with your oral hygiene.

What can you do about gums receding?

Depending on the reason for your gum recession, there are different treatment options available to you. If your gums are receding from:

  • Brushing too hard: your dental staff will show you how to brush properly and not cause any further damage to your gums.
  • Periodontal disease: scaling and root planing. Your dentist will remove plaque and tartar to help the tissues heal and reattach to the tooth.
  • Partial dentures that don’t fit: your dentist can adjust your dentures for you.
  • Advanced recession: If it’s advanced recession, a graft may be needed. This is when a thin piece of gum tissue is attached where the recession is. This covers the exposed root.

Are you worried about gum recession? Schedule an appointment with us today and one of our highly-trained and caring dentists will work with you to find a solution.

Posted In: Oral & Dental Health Tips