If you are concerned that your gums are receding, you are probably wondering if there’s anything you can do about it! Here, we’ll discuss what receding gums are, what causes them, and how they can be fixed.
What Are Receding Gums?
Gum recession is when the gum tissue that surrounds your teeth pulls back and recedes to expose more of the tooth and its root. Because gums are meant to protect your teeth and help secure them to the bone, there can be dental issues when your gums recede. Receding gums form pockets between the tooth and the gumline, which are great homes for bacteria to build up in, leaving your mouth susceptible to tooth sensitivity, decay, infection, and tooth loss.
What Causes Receding Gums?
There are a number of things that can cause your gums to recede:
- Poor Oral Hygiene
- Unusual Forces
The most common cause of receding gums is poor oral hygiene habits that lead to periodontal disease. Not brushing and flossing every day will lead to the accumulation of a sticky film of bacteria (called plaque) and tartar (hardened plaque) along your teeth and under your gumline. If left untreated, bacterial gum infections can destroy not only your gum tissue but also the bone that’s holding your teeth in place!
Your genes can also influence your risk of gum disease and recession; 30% of people are believed to be more susceptible to gum disease and receding gums just based on their genetic makeup. However, oral hygiene has a much greater impact on your gum health than your genetics, so nobody is doomed to have unhealthy gums solely based on their genetic code.
Hormonal changes in women during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can make their gums more sensitive to irritation and inflammation, and therefore recession. For female patients, regular dental checkups and consistent oral hygiene are always important, but particularly key during these times.
Abnormal pressure on your teeth and gums can also cause irritation and recession. This can happen if you aggressively brush your teeth, grind or clench your teeth, or have a misaligned bite that results in unusual forces. To prevent these forces, brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and ask us about a custom nightguard for bruxism and our orthodontic treatments.
Can Receding Gums Be Fixed?
There are a number of treatment options for receding gums, which all depend on the cause of the gum recession and how severe it is. In general, a look at your oral health habits is always warranted. Ask yourself:
- Do I brush my teeth twice a day for two minutes each time with a fluoridated toothpaste?
- Do I use a soft-bristled toothbrush?
- Do I floss at least once a day, with either string floss or a water flosser?
- Do I drink plenty of water?
- Do I eat a balanced diet low in sugar and refined carbohydrates?
- Do I avoid chewing sugary gum?
- Do I avoid tobacco products?
- When was the last time I had a dental checkup & cleaning?
If your gum recession is caused by periodontal disease, the first step is tooth scaling and root planting, where we remove the accumulated plaque and tartar from the surface and roots of your teeth. This will help your gum tissue heal and reattach to the tooth. If your gum recession is very advanced, with deep pockets, infection, and loss of bone, more complex measures will be needed, such as surgery, grafting, and antibiotics.
Consult with Our Expert Team!
Regardless of the level of gum damage and its cause, our team can put together a personalized treatment plan to restore your smile to full health. So if you need treatment for gum recession, contact us today.