What Is Gum Recession?
Before we knew the cause of gum recession, it was believed to be an unavoidable part of aging. However, we know now that it’s usually preventable through proper oral hygiene and care.
Gum recession is a common dental problem that many people don’t even realize they have, but what is it and what can you do about it? In this post, we broke down everything you need to know about gum recession.
What is Gum Recession?
Gum recession is when your gums separate from your teeth and recede to expose your roots.
As a result, your teeth appear longer. It is not reversible, but it is treatable. So, even though your gums won’t grow back, professional intervention can stop it from getting worse.
Causes of Gum Recession
While there are a few different causes of gum recession, it's usually the result of either periodontal disease or brushing your teeth too aggressively.
Periodontal disease is the most common cause of gum recession.
Gum disease is caused by bacteria getting beneath your gum line and eating away the tissue that connects your gums to your teeth.
Most people develop gum disease because of poor oral hygiene. However, there are some factors out that can make you more susceptible to it, such as:
Brushing Your Teeth Aggressively
While anyone can experience gum recession from aggressive brushing, it’s more common in men. According to this study, men tend to brush harder and use toothbrushes with more firm bristles.
Aggressive brushing leads to gum recession because the bristles slowly erode your gums.
To avoid this, start using a soft-bristled toothbrush. This will minimize further damage.
How do you know if you are brushing too hard?
A clear sign of brushing too hard is if the bristles are askew after a month or two of use. If this is the case, replace your toothbrush and start brushing lighter. At first, it may feel like you are brushing too lightly, but it is much healthier for your gums.
How To Treat Receding Gums
Gum recession treatment requires professional intervention because gums can’t grow back on their own. While gum recession is irreversible, there are steps you can take to stop it and replace the lost gums.
Regeneration Through Grafting
Since your gums can’t naturally grow back, regeneration is often used to treat gum recession.
Usually, a gum graft, soft-tissue graft, or tissue-simulating protein gets attached to the degenerated gums to promote growth. This is done after your gums have been thoroughly cleaned, so the infection doesn’t continue.
Scaling and Root Planing
Scaling and root planing are dental procedures that thoroughly clean beneath your gum line. They are often used to fight periodontal disease and should stop gum recession.
Scaling involves using a dental tool to scrape plaque and tartar from around the root of your teeth and out of your gums.
Planing uses a separate tool to smooth beneath your gums to discourage bacterial growth. Bacteria have a more difficult time attaching to smooth surfaces than rigid ones.
How To Tell If Your Gums Are Receding
More often than not, you will be able to see your gums beginning to separate from your teeth. However, gum recession can happen slowly, so you may not notice it immediately.
Since gum recession is usually associated with periodontal disease, you should look out for:
Sore or Tender Gums
Gums Easily Bleeding (especially when brushing)
Pus in Gums or Between Teeth
Loose Teeth or Tooth Loss
New Spaces Between Teeth
Discomfort When Brushing
Gum Recession Treatment Cost
The cost of treating receding gums varies widely. The price of gum recession treatment depends on your level of gum recession and the treatment required to fix it — advanced gum recession requires different (and likely more expensive) treatment than early stages.
How To Prevent Gum Recession
While some biological factors make preventing gum recession difficult, most people can avoid it. Here are a few ways you can get ahead of potential gum recession issues.
Stop Using Tobacco
As mentioned above, tobacco use drastically increases your risk of developing periodontal disease and receding gums.
Visit the Dentist Regularly
Scheduling regular visits to the dentist is a great way to catch gum recession early or prevent it altogether.
Dental professionals know what to look for to catch gum recession before it has a chance to progress and cause serious problems.
Practice Proper Oral Care
Keeping up with your oral hygiene is the best way to avoid gum recession.
Start by thoroughly flossing your teeth. (For added benefit, you can use a water flosser to help rid plaque beneath your gum line!)
Next, use a soft-bristle toothbrush to go over the surface of all your teeth in a circular motion. Brushing in circles ensures you get all the crevices and spaces between your teeth. You should also angle the brush at about a 45-degree angle to get under your gums.
Drink More Water
Water is vital for our bodies to function. It also helps to flush away some of the bad bacteria that accumulate throughout the day. This doesn't replace brushing or flossing your teeth, but it does help reduce bacteria throughout the day.
Gum Recession Treatment in Fremont, CA
If you think your gums might be receding, make an appointment with our experienced Fremont, CA dentist today! Gum recession is irreversible and will become more expensive to treat the longer you wait.