Do you have receding gums?

Receding gums may be one of the first signs of gum disease. When gum recession occurs, ‘pockets’ or gaps, form between the teeth and the gum line. This makes it easy for disease-causing bacteria to build up. The first signs of gum recession are usually tooth sensitivity or you may notice a tooth looks longer than normal. Often a notch can be felt near the gum line.

Most people don’t know they have gum recession because it occurs gradually. Colgate tells you about the causes, treatments and prevention for receding gums.

Why Do Gums Recede?
There are a number of factors that can cause your gums to recede, including:

  • Periodontal diseases – These are bacterial gum infections that destroy gum tissue and supporting bone that hold your teeth in place. Gum disease is the main cause of gum recession.
  • Aggressive brushing – If you brush your teeth too hard, it can cause the enamel on your teeth to wear away and your gums to recede.
  • Insufficient dental care – Inadequate brushing and flossing makes it easy for plaque to turn into calculus (or tartar) that can cause gum recession.
  • Tobacco products – Tobacco users are more likely to have sticky plaque on their teeth that is difficult to remove, which can cause gum problems and eventually recession.
  • Grinding and clenching your teeth – This can exert too much force on the teeth, causing gums to recede


How is gum recession treated?
Mild gum recession can be treated by your dentist by deep cleaning the affected area, removing plaque and tartar that has built up on the teeth. Root surfaces below the gum line are cleaned and the exposed root area is smoothed to make it more difficult for bacteria to attach themselves. Sometimes antibiotics will also be given to get rid of any remaining harmful bacteria.

If your gum recession cannot be treated with deep cleaning because of the excess loss of bone and pockets that are too deep, gum surgery may be required to repair the damage caused by gum recession.

How can I prevent gum recession?
The best way to prevent gum recession is to take good care of your mouth. Brush and floss your teeth every day and see your dentist or periodontist at least twice a year, or as recommended. If you have gum recession, your dentist may want to see you more often. Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush and ask your dentist to show you the proper way to brush your teeth. If a misaligned bite or teeth grinding is the cause of gum recession, talk to your dentist about how to correct the problem. Quit smoking if you smoke. Eat a well-balanced and healthy diet.

If left untreated, gum recession can progress to destruction of the supporting tissue and bone structures of the teeth. This may ultimately result in tooth loss. By taking good care of your teeth, you can have a healthy smile forever.

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