Gum recession is caused by periodontal disease, which begins when the gums pull away from the teeth at a slow or rapid rate, allowing bacteria to enter the space once occupied by healthy tissue. This inflammation of the gums and bone around your teeth can lead to several diseases, including cavities and tooth loss.
Symptoms of Receding Gums
When there is not enough bone surrounding the teeth, receding gums can come along. This leaves your gums vulnerable to infection, which leads to inflammation and tissue death. The early stages of gum disease are not very noticeable, so paying close attention to your dental health is essential. The following are the most common signs of receding gums:
- Red and swollen gums
- Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth, floss or eat certain foods
- Tenderness in the mouth or around the teeth
- Changes to your normal bite such as a shift in upper and lower teeth positioning
- after brushing – this may be due to bone loss
- Constant bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
Gum Recession Causes
Several factors can lead to receding gums. If you practice poor oral care or neglect existing problems with your gums, plaque and tartar accumulation will cause the gums to recede faster. If you have an illness or medical condition that decreases the strength of your immune system, this can also make you more susceptible to gum disease. Other factors that contribute to the formation of receding gums are:
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Genetics and family history
- Dental implants and braces
- Certain medications, such as steroids
- Excessive brushing or flossing
- Incorrect or inadequate dental care early on in life
- Bad habits such as nail-biting, thumb sucking and mouth breathing
- Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy or menopause
Treatment for Receding Gums
Once the gums pull away from the teeth, it becomes more challenging to treat. With early detection and regular care, you can help stop or prevent further receding gums. The most common treatment options for receding gums include:
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling is a deep cleaning that removes plaque, tartar, and bacteria below the gum line. Root planing smoothes down the edges of teeth to prevent further bone loss. They treat by eliminating any bacteria located in the gums, increasing the chances of gum healing.
Depending on how much damage has occurred to your gums or bone, surgery may be needed. This includes a flap surgery procedure where gum tissue is cut away from receded areas and repositioned during a reconstruction phase. It may also include grafting procedures where the gums are stitched or sewn together to fill in reduced spaces.
An oral irrigator is a device that cleans between your teeth and below the gum line using a thin jet of water. They can effectively remove plaque and tartar from hard-to-reach areas and help reduce the risk of receding gums.
In this procedure, an electrical needle is used to remove tissue from inside the pocket of inflamed gums – which kills some of the bacteria in the lesion. During this procedure, the gums are left open so the area can heal. It is recommended that you floss and rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash to keep the area clean while it heals.
If the gum infection is too advanced, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics for you to take orally or as a mouthwash. This helps kill any remaining bacteria in the gums after the procedure has been completed. However, they are not recommended for routine use due to their side effects and potential dangers if they are not needed.
Prevention of Receding Gums
To prevent bone loss and reduce the risk of receding gums, it is essential to practice good oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist. There are several ways to do this, like brushing your teeth for at least two minutes twice a day using an antibacterial mouthwash. As you do this, make sure you brush all areas of your mouth and floss.
It is also essential to avoid too much sugar in your daily diet, eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, drink water throughout the day, keep up with maintenance checkups at the dentist every six months, quit smoking or tobacco use if applicable, and practice good oral hygiene habits.
Also, floss once a day – use pre-threaded floss or floss grips if you have trouble doing it by hand. Make sure you floss behind the base of each tooth and below the gum line where plaque and tartar accumulate to avoid damaging your gums and teeth.
If you or a loved one suffers from receding gums, be sure to learn more about how you can stop or prevent further damage before it is too late.
Receding gums is a problem not to be taken lightly. Its effects can impact the teeth and gums (in severe cases), and what’s more, it can make you unattractive because of your smile.