According to the American Dental Association, gum recession is a type of gum disease in which the gums pull away from the tooth’s surface, exposing the root. Receding gums may result in pockets between the gum and the tooth, which becomes a breeding ground for bacteria no matter how great your oral hygiene habits are. As a result, tooth decay and tooth loss often go hand-in-hand with gum recession.
Causes of Gum Recession
Gum recession is typical, especially after age 40, but it has many causes. A dentist can help you determine the reason your gums are receding and design a treatment plan. Your receding gums may be the result of one or more common causes:
- Dry mouth
- Family history
- Genetically thin or weak gums
- Hormone changes in women
- Ill-fitting partial dentures
- Incorrect brushing technique
- Brushing aggressively
- Using a hard-bristled toothbrush
- Medical condition
- Prominent tooth roots
- Tartar buildup
- Trauma to the gums
- Smoking, tobacco use, or vaping
The CDC also notes that gum disease is more prevalent in men and those living below the poverty line, probably due to lack of access to quality dental care.
Symptoms of Gum Recession
Regardless of the cause, there are some common symptoms of gum disease to be aware of so you can catch it early. Since many of the symptoms don’t become apparent until after the disease progresses, regular checkups with your dentist are essential to catch gum recession before it damages your teeth.
Visit your dentist if you are experiencing any of the early signs of gum disease or recession:
- Bad breath
- Exposed tooth root
- Loose teeth
- Painful gums
- Red, swollen gums
- Visible shrinking of the gums
Treating Gum Recession
The treatment for gum recession depends on the cause. If poor brushing techniques are the culprit, your dentist can show you how to brush appropriately or recommend a better toothbrush or flossing tool.
If the cause is medical-based, such as an illness, hormonal changes, genetics, or if the condition is severe, different treatments may be necessary, like medication or surgery.
If there’s an existing infection, the first treatment step will be antibiotics, whether in pill or gel ointment form. Antimicrobial mouthwash can also help alleviate gum recession and protect your teeth from decay.
Surgery options for repairing gum recession include flap surgery, when the dentist pulls back the gums for a thorough cleaning and then resets them, or grafting, which involves placing a small piece of tissue to spur regrowth.
Preventing Gum Recession
The best way to prevent gum recession is to use proper brushing techniques and implement regular flossing habits to prevent tartar buildup. Dental cleanings every six months and annual oral exams help prevent gum recession and ensure it is identified in its early stages so you and your dentist can take action.
TruBlu Cares About Your Gums
If you think you may have receding gums, contact TruBlu Dentistry to schedule an appointment at any of our locations in Burbank, Chicago, or Hegewisch. We’ll perform a thorough hygiene cleaning and exam, and if necessary, start a treatment plan to protect your smile for the future.