Your oral health indicates your general wellness. It can be startling if you notice you have receding gums.
Receding gums can be painful, but they are also treatable.
But what is it and how can we treat it?
What Is Gingival Recession?
Gingival recession, or gum recession, is the process for which gum tissue surrounding the teeth is slowly worn away or pulled back. This then exposes the tooth or even the root of the tooth.
When this occurs, gaps form between the gum line and the teeth. These “pockets” allow for disease-causing bacteria to build up easily within the mouth.
Gum recession is a very common problem for many dental patients. And because it is a subtle build-up, most people don’t even notice they have it!
Early signs are typically the following:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Tooth appears longer than normal
- A “notch” is felt near the gum line
Leaving gum recession untreated can result is severe damage to the supporting gum tissue and bone structure. The teeth themselves can be damaged then, which can result in tooth loss.
Causes of Gum Recession
There are many typical habits people do every day that can be causes of gum recession. Treatment, in turn, is often dependent on the cause.
Aggressive Brushing or Flossing
Ever heard the saying, “too much of a good thing is a bad thing”? This applies to brushing and flossing as well.
Gum tissue is a very soft and sensitive material.
The enthusiasm for oral health care is great, and many people lack such a thing, but in moderation. The Journal of Periodontology has done a study on aggressive brushing and hard toothbrushes. They found that hard brushing leads to more recession of the gums.
To summarize: it’s important to use a soft toothbrush and to brush not scrub your teeth. Brushing isn’t supposed to be painful!
Abnormal Positioning or Crooked Teeth
Misalignment of teeth can cause overlapping of teeth or gaps between.
When teeth aren’t coming together evenly, the force placed on the gums and the bone structure of the teeth can cause recession.
Similarly, lip or tongue piercings can have the same effect. The rubbing from eating or talking that is caused from the metal can irritate the tissue eventually wearing down the gum line.
Do you notice that you wake up with a headache? This is a sign of grinding teeth in your sleep.
Grinding your teeth can not only cause gum recession but also can be the cause of many maladies. So, it’s important to talk to your doctor when you notice it!
While it can be the cause of many things, it is easily treatable with a mouth guard or several other options.
Your genetics determines a lot about your health and body. And that includes your mouth.
30% of the population may be predisposed to gum disease, regardless of care.
The characteristics about your gum tissue is determined by your genetics. If one or both of your parents have gingival recession, you are more susceptible to getting it too.
Poor Oral Health
With poor oral health, you are at risk for many bacteria including periodontal disease.
Gum infections like periodontal disease, wreck gum tissue and the supporting bone structure. Actually, gum disease is the main cause of gum recession.
Treatment for Gum Recession
Gum recession in mild cases is very treatable!
When you catch gum recession early, it means you likely won’t need professional treatment. Though you might not need professional care, it’s important to have your dentist identify and instruct you accordingly on treating it.
Simple steps like evaluating your flossing habits or using a different toothbrush can help.
But if you have a more serious case of gum recession there are a variety of treatments to support you. Depending on the severity and cause, you may need surgical treatment.
Your dentist will decide the best course of action for you. This would include determining how you could benefit from scaling and root planing.
Your oral health is extremely important, since your mouth is a good indication of your overall wellness. Contact your dentist if you notice anything out of the ordinary.