What Causes Receding Gums and How to Stop It

Updated on October 7, 2020

Receding gums is a very serious and common problem worldwide. The best way to describe this condition is as a condition in which the gum tissue, which surrounds the teeth moves, or wears away. The tissue pulls away from the roots of the teeth, exposing most of it, even the roots. When this happens, the person starts having gaps or pockets in the gum line, which gives disease-causing bacteria a place to start building up. When the condition worsens, the patient feels extreme discomfort and has to visit the nearest dental practice for treatment. If untreated, receding gums can cause tooth loss.

Most people do not realise that they have gum recession because the process is gradual. First, the tooth becomes sensitive, and eventually, the gum line starts having a notch. Ignoring the gum recession is almost impossible, which is why you need to make an appointment with the dentist as soon as possible, to prevent irreversible damage. 

Why Gums Recede

Several factors cause receding gums and detecting them in time helps. Here are a few factors:

Periodontal diseases – Some bacterial gum infections can destroy the gum tissue and the bone supporting the tooth. This comes with a gum recession. If this is an issue that you face, be sure to contact this Dentist in West harwich for dental treatments.

Genetics – Sometimes, people with a genetic history of receding gums are more susceptible to gum diseases. Studies show that as much as 30% of the world population is predisposed to gum disease, no matter how well one cares for them. 

Harsh tooth brushing – Brushing teeth the wrong way (very harshly) can hurt the teeth. It can cause the enamel to wear off, and make the gums recede.

Insufficient dental care – Flossing, brushing twice a day (at least), and using antibacterial mouthwash is good for the teeth. Not doing enough of these can cause tartar formation between the teeth, and only professional dentists can clean it. Untreated tartar can also cause a recession of the gums.

Hormonal changes – The female body acts differently at different times, and there are fluctuations in hormonal levels. This can cause the sensitivity of the gums and eventually gum recession.

Tobacco – Users of tobacco often have sticky plaque stuck to their teeth, which is difficult to remove and needs a visit to the dental practice. Not treating this can cause receding gums.

Grinding or clenching the teeth – Sometimes, people clench their teeth too hard, unconsciously, or consciously. This leads to the eventual receding of the gums.

Crooked and/or misaligned teeth – In cases where the teeth are too misaligned or crooked, it can cause extreme force on the gums, and cause gum recession.

Piercing the tongue or lips – When jewellery rubs against the gums, it can irritate the gum tissue, which can cause gum recession. It is advisable to visit the dentist often if one has a piercing. 

Gum Recession Treatment

The dentist can treat gum recession by cleaning the affected area properly. There may be a need to do some scaling and root planing. If there are signs of tartar and plaque, then the dentist would have to remove it carefully. If the exposed roots are smooth after the treatment, the chances of bacteria attaching to the gums will be less. This is why; it is important to choose the right dentist. In extreme cases, if the gum recession is not treatable, there may be a need for surgery to repair the damage. 

Surgical Treatment Used to Treat Gum Recession

The best dentists would use the following methods. If the patient has anxiety about the surgery, they usually use anaesthesia so that the patient has no memory upon waking up post-op.

Open flap scaling and root planing – In this procedure, the dentist folds back the gum tissue affected by this problem and removes the harmful bacteria from the pockets. The dentist then secures the gum by placing the gum tissue in a way that it covers the tooth root.

Regeneration – In some cases, the bone that supports the teeth sustains serious damage. This causes bone and tissue loss. The dentist would have to fold the gum tissue to reduce the pocket depth and remove the lodged bacteria. The regenerative materials like tissue-simulating protein, membrane, and the graft tissue will help with healing the affected area. Once the regenerative material is in place, the roots are secure.

Soft tissue graft – There are different gum tissue grafting procedures that are used by different dental practices across the world. Soft tissue graft involves using a flap of the skin collected from the root of the patient’s mouth (subepithelial connective tissue) and stitching it to the gum tissue to cover the exposed roots. 

How to Prevent Gum Recession

The most recommendable way is to take good care of the teeth. Floss and brush every day, and visit the dentist at least twice a year. Once you notice a gum recession, make an appointment with the dentist. To brush, do not apply too much force, instead use a soft-bristle toothbrush. Ask your dentist for the proper way to brush your teeth.

If you have misaligned teeth, or the habit to grind your teeth, then talk to your dentist to help fix this problem. Other approaches you can take to prevent gum recession are:

  • Change your toothbrush every 3 months
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet
  • Floss and brush regularly
  • Monitor changes in your gums
  • Quit smoking 
  • Take vitamin-rich food and supplements regularly

How Soon is Too Soon to Get a Dentist Appointment for Receding Gums?

Receding gums usually happen over several months. The symptoms are usually difficult to detect, but the onset of tartar is a sign of an impending problem. Once you notice bad breath or tartar and spacing between the teeth, visit the dentist near you. The sooner you visit the dental practice, the better.

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The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.