Gum recession also referred to as gingival recession, is an aesthetically unpleasing condition in which the gum lines begin to recede and pull away from the teeth, resulting in root exposure and an elongated tooth surface. It is an embarrassing condition for most patients who feel it affects their overall appearance negatively, and it can also cause discomfort and sensitivity. In some cases, untreated gum recession can lead to dental caries in the root area if it is not already present. Receding gums can also eventually cause tooth loss. If you currently have receding gums that are not infected or currently inflamed due to gum disease, you may be able to prevent further recession with gentle care and a few tips.
First, you need to know what the exact causes of gum recession are. Some causes are preventable while others, sadly, are not. One cause of gum recession that people cannot avoid is age. Over 85 percent of adults over 65 years of age presently have gum recession, while only about 50 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 65 are currently affected. Gingival tissue weakens with age so you should brush more gently and continue to seek out regular dental care as you age. Another unavoidable cause of the gingival recession is the inherited disposition for it. Outside of these cases, gum recession usually develops due to poor or overzealous dental care. Failing to brush and floss regularly can result in gum disease and recession while brushing too hard can also cause your gums to recede.
If you currently have malpositioned teeth and gum recession as a side effect, it is never too late to receive orthodontic treatment that could be beneficial to your dental health. Having your teeth straightened will take extra stress off of delicate soft tissues and allow you to clean your teeth and gums better without harming them. If your teeth are generally straight, these other tips may help you avoid further gum recession:
Proper brushing and flossing habits including cleaning with a gentle yet firm circular motion and flossing twice daily without pushing the floss too roughly against your gums.
Get fitted for a night guard that may decrease pressure and abrasion on your gums while you sleep. Many people grind their teeth and clench their jaws while they sleep which results in excessive wear on the gum tissues.
Avoid biting your nails or chewing on pens and pencils. This can be abrasive to your gums, causing a recession, and it introduces germs into your mouth that could lead to infection.
Consider treatments that will help replace missing gum tissue like gum grafts. Added gum tissue may help protect your tooth roots, decreasing the chance of infection and discomfort, and it could improve your overall appearance.
In addition to these simple tips, don't forget to keep up with regular visits to your Vista dentist. The better we get to know your individual situation, the more confidently we can recommend helpful strategies to reduce the progression of gum recession.