Your gums are important for many reasons. Not only do they support your teeth, but healthy gums are also crucial for a reduced risk of infection, tooth loss, and unappealing smiles. Characterized by the gum tissue pulling away from the tooth to expose the roots, gum recession can wreak havoc on the underlying health and look of your smile.
Even though gum recession is a common problem, most people are not familiar with it or how it develops. With this guide and the help of your dentist, you will learn the signs, causes, and treatment options for receding gums.
In the early stages of gum recession, you may not notice a loss of gum tissue. However, the gums may appear red and swollen. They may also bleed while brushing and flossing your teeth.
As the recession starts, the gum tissue will pull away from the teeth. You may notice more of your teeth is visible than before. In some cases, the gums may recede so much that you are able to see the actual roots of your teeth.
Remember that healthy gums fit securely around the crown of the tooth; just like the collar on your shirt. Therefore, if you notice the gum tissue slowly deteriorate from the tooth, you have an underlying dental problem to address.
Periodontal disease is the leading cause of gum recession. Unfortunately, about half of Americans have periodontitis, which is a more severe form of periodontal disease.
Basically, periodontal disease is an infection that not only destroys gum tissue but can also destroy bone in your jaw. If you have periodontal disease, you may have bleeding, painful, and receding gums. As the infection spreads, your teeth can become loose and you may possibly lose one or more teeth.
Genetics is another cause of receding gums. For example, if your parents had gum disease or misalignments, you will be predisposed to the same conditions that result in receding gums.
Poor oral hygiene and genetics then increase the risk of gum disease and receding gums. Improper brushing and flossing leads to plaque and bacterial growth on your teeth and gums.
If you brush with a hard-bristled toothbrush or you brush too harshly, you will irritate the gum tissue. This can lead to gum recession.
Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause all can cause fluctuations in hormones, which can make the gum tissue more sensitive. This increased sensitivity can affect your oral hygiene and lead to inflamed, swollen, and receding gums.
A misaligned smile or crooked teeth can also lead to receding gums. Chewing, biting, and other motions made with the mouth will place pressure on the gums, which could lead to recession of the tissue.
Receding gum tissue will not grow back, but there are ways to restore the gum tissue and teeth back to a healthy and appealing state.
Proper care of your mouth, teeth, and gums may not restore the lost gum tissue, but it can prevent further recession. To prevent further deteriorating of your gum tissue, make sure to brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush, floss between your teeth daily, and go to your dentist for professional cleanings every 4 to 6 months.
Flap surgery and gum grafting are options to consider if you want to actually restore the gum tissue that has been lost over time. Flap surgery involves removing any plaque and bacteria on and under the gum tissue to prevent further recession and potential bone loss.
For gum grafting, small sections of gum tissue are removed from a healthier area of the mouth. This healthier gum tissue is then grafted onto the receding areas of the gums to create a more appealing and better protected smile.
If you prefer a less invasive option, your dentist may recommend bonding. Gum-colored resin is bonded over the tooth where the gums are receding. While the resin improves the smile’s look, bonding also helps protect your tooth’s roots from plaque and bacteria.
For assistance with your gum health or another dental issue, contact Vanyo Dentistry today.