Have you ever noticed that your teeth seem a little bit longer than usual? Or that your gums are starting to look a little bit bare? If so, it’s possible that your gums are receding. This can be a scary realization, but the good news is that there are a number of ways to fix the problem. In this post, we’ll be discussing what causes gum recession, what the symptoms are, and what our dentist’s advice might be if you think your gums are receding.
What causes gum recession?
There are a number of factors that can contribute to gum recession. Some of the most common include:
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a condition that affects the gums and the supporting structures of the teeth and the most common cause of gum recession. It is caused by bacteria in the mouth that create plaque, a sticky film that forms on the teeth. If the plaque is not regularly removed through proper oral hygiene practices such as brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar, also known as dental calculus.
The bacteria in plaque and tartar release toxins that irritate the gums, leading to inflammation and infection. The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, which is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums. Again, this contributes significantly to gum recession.
Brushing too hard
Brushing too hard can also lead to the abrasion of gum tissue. The constant friction caused by aggressive brushing wears away the gum tissue, making it thinner and more susceptible to recession. Over time, the exposed root surfaces of the teeth may become more visible as the gum line recedes.
Hormonal changes, such as those occurring during pregnancy or menopause, can increase the likelihood of gum recession in women. During pregnancy, increased progesterone levels can make the gums more sensitive and prone to inflammation, leading to a condition called pregnancy gingivitis. Similarly, the decrease in estrogen levels during menopause can affect gum tissue density and its ability to resist infection and trauma. This makes women experiencing hormonal changes more susceptible to gum recession.
Tobacco use, whether through smoking or chewing, can lead to gum recession by reducing blood flow to the gums, suppressing the immune response, causing gum inflammation, delaying healing, and promoting plaque and tartar buildup. These factors weaken the gum tissue, making it more susceptible to damage and gum recession over time.
What are the symptoms of gum recession?
The most obvious symptom of gum recession is that your teeth will look longer than usual. You may also notice that your gums seem to be pulling away from your teeth, exposing more of the tooth’s root. Other common symptoms of gum recession include:
If your teeth become more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, it’s possible that you’re experiencing gum recession.
If your gums are receding, your teeth may start to feel loose or wobbly in their sockets.
When bacteria gets trapped in the gaps between your teeth and gums, it can start to produce a foul odor.
What is the dentist’s advice if your gums are receding?
If you think your gums are receding, the best thing to do is to make an appointment with your dentist. We can examine your teeth and gums and determine the underlying cause of the problem. Based on our findings from a dental examination, our dentists may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
Scaling and root planing
This is a deep cleaning procedure that can remove bacteria and tartar from below your gumline.
If your gums have receded significantly, our dentist may recommend a gum graft to help cover up the exposed root and protect it from further damage.
Changing your oral care routine
If your gum recession is caused by aggressive brushing or flossing, our dentist may recommend that you switch to a gentler technique.
If you think your gums are receding, it’s important to see the dentist as soon as possible. While gum recession can be a scary problem, there are a number of effective treatments available that can help restore your gum health and protect your teeth. By working with Post Family Dental and taking good care of your oral health at home, you can keep your gums healthy and ensure that your smile stays beautiful for years to come.