Why Are My Gums Receding?
My gums are receding. What do I need to know?
Gum recession is a common dental problem. You may not notice your gums receding, as it is a gradual process. If you do see symptoms, you should consult your dentist as soon as possible.
What is gum recession?
Gum recession occurs when the gum line wears away or pulls back and reveals more of the tooth. Pockets form between the teeth and the gums, creating a place for bacteria to flourish. If untreated, this can lead to decay, and eventual loss of tissue, teeth, and bone.
How do I know if my gums are receding?
Symptoms of gum recession
Be on the lookout for these signs:
- Sensitive teeth
- Teeth that appear longer
- Visible gaps between the teeth and the gums
- Loose teeth
- Persistent bad breath
- Swollen, red gums
What causes gum recession?
Causes of gum recession
- Gum disease / gingivitis: gum disease and receding gums go hand-in-hand
- Over-brushing: brushing too hard can cause gums to recede over time
- Neglected dental care: if you don't brush daily, plaque build up can lead to more bacteria, which accelerates gum recession
- Hormonal changes: puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can cause receding gums
- Tobacco: smoking, chewing tobacco, and other products can damage gums
- Teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Misaligned teeth
- Lip or tongue piercings: piercings can wear away at the gum line
- Diabetes: diabetes can also be a risk factor
- Genetic disposition: some people's genetics can be more prone to gum recession
How do I prevent gum recession?
Preventing gum recession depends on the cause. These are some important best practices to slow down the progress of receding gums:
- Dental hygiene: you should brush and floss daily to keep bacteria and plaque at bay
- Visit your dentist: You should normally visit your dentist at least twice per year, but if you see signs of gum recession, you should visit as soon as possible.
- Seek treatment for teeth grinding, such as a mouth guard
- Get a soft-bristle brush
- Brush more gently
- Quit smoking
How are receding gums treated?
If it has not progressed too far, gum recession can be treated through deep cleaning and antibiotics.
Gums do not naturally grow back, so if there has been significant tissue loss, gum surgery may be needed to restore your smile. There are also cosmetic dentistry options that can restore lost or misaligned teeth.
If you catch receding gums early enough, you can slow down recession and stop gum loss before it becomes too damaging.
Regardless of how far along your gum recession may be, you and your dentist will make a plan to treat the condition and restore your smile based on your unique case.