Common Causes For Gum Recession, And What To Do About It

Teen leaning about teeth

Gum recession is the process during which gum tissue weakens, wears, and pulls away from teeth. In extreme cases of recession, gum tissue can even pull away and expose the root of a tooth.

As gum recession occurs due to advanced stages of gum disease, pockets and gaps form in gum tissue, making it easy for bacteria and food debris to build up within the tissue. If gum disease and recession are left untreated, infection can spread deep into bone tissue, causing a loss of bone density and an increased risk for tooth loss and bone damage.

Periodontal issues affect millions of people each year—with varying stages of gum disease, you may experience swelling, discomfort, and tooth sensitivity long before gum disease is detected. It is a well-known fact that oral health is intimately connected to your overall health, so knowing a bit more about gum health and what causes disease and recession will be essential to combating gum disease. Here are some common causes for recession of your gum line, and what you can do to get your mouth back in shape:

Periodontal disease
The number one cause of receding gums is advanced stages of periodontal disease. These bacterial gum infections destroy healthy tissue, causing it to pull away from teeth and expose both root and bone. As gum tissue is one of the primary structures that holds your teeth in place, the breakdown of this tissue can be devastating to your oral health.

Genetic predisposition
Unfortunately, some people are just more genetically predisposed to losing gum tissue as they age. In fact, over 30 percent of the population is thought to have a tendency to develop this condition, despite all of their valiant efforts to care for their teeth and gums.

Overly aggressive tooth brushing
Using an overly aggressive brushing technique or a toothbrush that is too stiff will eventually erode both tooth enamel and gum tissue. Keeping it gentle, and using a soft-bristled brush will keep your mouth in tact; resist the urge to “scrub” your teeth, as it will only do long term damage to your mouth.

Inadequate dental care
If you fail to adequately take care of teeth—brushing, flossing, fluoride treatments, and regular trips to the dentist, it can result in the build up of tartar on your teeth. Tartar accumulation will eventually extend below the gum line, which will cause your gums to recede. Tartar can only be removed by a professional dentist, and tartar prevention can only be done by you as you practice good oral health care habits at home.

Fluctuating hormone levels
Women, you get the short end of the stick on this one. Fluctuating hormone levels during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can make you more susceptible to tartar build up and inflammation of the gums, which can cause gum recession.

Tobacco use
Smoking and using chewing tobacco can be extremely inflammatory to the soft tissues of the mouth. Bacteria present in these substances simply attracts more bacteria, leaving your mouth a breeding ground for infections. If you can reduce or cease your use of these substances, you’ll be one step closer toward restoring the health of your mouth.

Preventing gum recession
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure–the best method of treatment for gum recession is not to let it begin in the first place. Practice these daily activities for optimal oral health:

  • Brush and floss daily
  • Avoid overly sticky or sugary snacks
  • Eat a balanced diet rich in whole grains, fresh produce, and quality protein
  • Use fluoride rinse and ADA recommended toothpaste
  • See your dentist regularly for a comprehensive treatment plan and professional cleaning

If you have not prioritized your oral health, and you find yourself with receding or bleeding gums and sore teeth, it is not too late to get back on track once more. Make an appointment with Memorial City Dentistry to design a treatment plan for restoring your oral health and safeguarding your overall health and wellness. You deserve a bright and dazzling smile!