The gums are often overlooked when it comes to oral health and hygiene — but the truth is, your gum tissue provides a crucial foundation for a healthy, long lasting smile. Gum recession, which occurs when the gums pull away from where they should be against the teeth, is a common issue affecting adults of all ages. Keep reading to learn why it happens and what you can do to stop receding gums for a healthier, attractive smile.
Top 3 Causes of Gum Recession
There are at least three significant causes of disappearing gum tissue. We have listed them and why they occur below.
Perhaps one of the most common causes of gum recession is gum disease, which occurs when bacteria makes a home in deep pockets between your teeth and gums. Here, the bacteria eats away at the healthy tissue, eventually taking away from the sturdy foundation your teeth need to remain secure. Untreated gum disease results in tooth loss as well as a host of other health conditions.
You need to put in the elbow grease when you’re cleaning your kitchen or bathroom — but not when you’re brushing your teeth. Yes, it may feel like you are getting an extra-good clean if you brush in hard, back-and-forth strokes, but you’re likely just injuring your delicate gum tissue in the process.
Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
If you grind your teeth at night, you may be accelerating the rate at which your gums erode. The increased pressure on the teeth wears away at the tooth enamel and periodontal tissue, too. Many people experience brief bouts of teeth grinding, but if it’s a chronic problem, your healthy teeth and gums are at risk of injury.
What You Can Do to Stop It
If you notice the symptoms of gum recession, like sensitive teeth or visible loss of the gum tissue, schedule an appointment with your dentist to determine why it’s occurring and discuss ways you can stop and reverse the receding gums. Depending on the severity of recession, you may benefit from a surgery to replace missing gum tissue.
Some general tips for preventing gum recession include:
- Brushing gently with a soft bristled toothbrush
- Brushing in circular motions rather than hard back-and-forth strokes
- Maintaining better oral hygiene practices, including brushing teeth for two minutes, twice a day and flossing daily
- Seeking treatment for gum disease
- Talking to your dentist about treatment for bruxism
Healthy gums promote lasting smiles — so don’t wait to seek a solution for your receding gums!
About the Author
Dr. James Kirby is always excited to help patients in and around Nashville take better care of their teeth in between visits. To learn more about his preventive or restorative treatments, don’t hesitate to contact his Green Hills office at 615-327-2123.