Have you recently noticed elongation in your teeth? Do you feel that they look longer than usual? If yes, then you may be suffering from receding gums. Receding gums can become a significant health concern because your teeth’ roots become exposed and put the teeth at risk of infection, decay, and even complete loss.
Receding gums are a common occurrence in adults. According to the California Dental Association (CDA), adults aged 40 or older are the most affected by receding gums. However, this condition is often not diagnosed in its early stages, which causes it to worsen later on.
If you notice your gums receding, you must visit your dentists right away to stop or treat the recession of your gums. Please keep reading to learn more about receding gums, their causes, treatment, and prevention methods. So, let’s dive right in!
How do Gums Recede?
Gums are responsible for protecting the teeth in your mouth. The gingival is a soft tissue that connects your teeth with its underlying tissues to secure them firmly and preserve the bone and the teeth. The gingival mucosa is unattached, movable, and an elastic tissue that protects the insides of your cheeks along with your gums. Gingival margin is an edging component of gingival tissue that surrounds and protects your teeth. When the gingival margin is pulled away from the teeth, the roots are left exposed. Since the roots aren’t as securely calcified as the tooth enamel, it makes them more susceptible to decay.
Once the roots are exposed, the gums start receding, and there is a higher risk of tooth sensitivity and other severe periodontal diseases.
What are the symptoms of receding gums?
It can be challenging to identify receding gums in their early stages because the symptoms are very subtle. Most people overlook the receding of their gums until it has reached a critical stage.
To detect receding gums in their early stages, you need to be proactive about your oral health. Here are the signs and symptoms to look out for to notice receding gums:
- Changed appearance of teeth; if your teeth start looking longer or the space between them increases, then there is a big chance that your gums are receding.
- If you feel like your teeth are loosening, and you might lose your teeth entirely.
- If you experience increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods, it could be a sign of exposed tooth roots.
Receding gums are only the beginning of much more severe dental conditions. More often than not, receding gums are a symptom of underlying dental conditions, such as tooth decay and gum disease.
Why Do Gums Recede?
There are several causes of receding gums in adults. Several factors can come into play when it comes to identifying the root cause of receding gums. Take a look at the following common reasons for receding gums:
1. Periodontal Disease
In many cases, underlying periodontal disease is the primary cause of receding gums. The bacterial infections damage the gum tissue and the supporting bone that keeps your teeth in place. As a result, the gums begin to recede.
2. Genetic Causes
The makeup of your genes is another common cause of gums receding. Due to genetics, some people are a lot more susceptible to this condition than others, even if they take care of their oral hygiene. Studies have shown that 30% of the population is already predisposed to gum disease even when they take their oral hygiene and health seriously.
Most of the gums’ characteristics are determined by genetics, and if you have a history of gum issues or your parents dealt with gums receding problems, you’re at a higher risk of developing them.
3. Aggressive Brushing and Flossing Habit
Aggressively brushing or flossing your teeth also poses the risk of severe damage to your teeth and gums. If you brush too hard, the enamel on your teeth can wear away, causing your gums to recede. So, when you’re brushing, makes sure that you don’t scrub them harshly.
4. Poor Oral Hygiene
If you don’t take care of your dental health properly, it can put you at a greater risk of receding gums and other periodontal diseases. Inadequate flossing, brushing, and rinsing can cause bacteria to grow and form plaque between and around your teeth. When this plaque builds up around gums and teeth, it can cause inflammation in the gums.
As a result, the gums can deteriorate and damage the bone structure. If not treated promptly, this will lead to gum recession and, in severe cases, tooth loss. If you notice any such symptoms, make sure that you go to your dentist for a professional cleaning. Overall, poor oral hygiene can become a significant cause of recession in gums.
5. Hormonal Changes
Hormonal changes are another common cause of receding gums in females. During pregnancy, puberty, and menopause, women’s gums may become more sensitive and highly vulnerable to gum recession. It’s essential to take extra care of dental hygiene during times of hormonal changes.
6. Tobacco Use
If you’re an avid tobacco smoker, then your chances of developing gum recession are much higher than non-smokers. Tobacco users are more likely to create sticky plaque around their teeth, which causes the gums to recede if left untreated.
7. The habit of Clenching or Grinding Teeth
Grinding or clenching teeth continuously can put extraordinary force on the teeth, causing the gums to recede. This habit can also cause many other dental issues such as higher tooth sensitivity, quicker tooth decay, and even tooth loss. If you have such a practice, then it’s best to visit your dentist and inform them. Your dentist may recommend wearing a mouthguard while you sleep to prevent grinding and clenching of your teeth.
8. Misaligned Bite or Irregular Tooth Positioning
If you have a condition of a misaligned bite or if your teeth are not aligned evenly, then it can put extra force on your gums and bone. If untreated, this can lead to the receding of gums.
9. Gum Tissue Trauma
If your gums or teeth have experienced trauma as a result of a severe injury, then it can cause them to recede.
10. Piercing of the Tongue or Lips
Sometimes jewelry can rub the gums and cause damage or irritation to the extent that the tissue is torn and the gums begin to recede.
Can Receding Gums Grow Back?
Receding gums have lasting repercussions for your dental health. They not only make your teeth more sensitive, but they also affect your appearance as well as your smile. That is why you might be wondering if receding gums can grow back? The answer is no; they don’t.
Unlike other types of body tissue, gum tissues aren’t able to regenerate, and that is why they do not grow back. However, you don’t need to panic. Even though they don’t grow back on their own, there are ways that your dentist can treat them and prevent them from getting worse.
Depending on your specific condition, your dentist might suggest surgery or other types of treatments. There are also steps that you can take to slow down the process of receding gums. Let’s learn about this further below!
How to Slow Down the Process of Gum Receding?
Although there’s no cure or one single way to regenerate gums, you can take steps to slow down the process of their recession. For starters, you need to make an appointment with your dentist and examine the extent of the recession and the next steps for slowing down the process.
If bacteria infect your receding space, then your dentist will likely suggest a deep cleaning and disinfecting procedure known as scaling and root planing. This procedure involves scraping and removal of tartar from around your teeth and gum line.
In other cases, the dentist might recommend the application of a slow-release antibacterial gel on your gum line or a thorough antibiotic mouthwash.
These steps are often the initial actions taken for treating or slowing down the receding gums. Removing bacteria can slow down the receding procedure significantly. In some cases, it can even stop the receding entirely.
To ensure that the recovery and slowing down process works, you need to take extra care of your oral hygiene and health. To avoid plaque buildup in the future, take the following steps:
- Brush your teeth gently twice a day with a soft toothbrush
- Floss your teeth every day before you brush them
- Go for regular dental checkups and deep cleaning procedures.
Treatment for Receding Gums
In most cases, dentists recommend preventive measures and monitoring of gums. However, some severe cases require an elaborate treatment procedure. There are several types of treatments that are used for receding gums. The common ones recommended by dentists include the following:
1. Use of Desensitizing Agents
Your dentist may recommend desensitizing and varnishing agents to control and reduce the sensitivity of the exposed teeth roots. These products help preserve your oral health and treat the affected nerve system by making the brushing of teeth easy.
2. Composite Restoration
Your dentist may cover the surface of your exposed roots with tooth-colored composite resins to close the gaps between teeth. This procedure slows down the receding of gums significantly.
3. Applying Pink Porcelain or Composite
This composite is the same color as the gums, so your dentist might apply it to fill the gaps in spaces where gums have receded.
4. Applying Removable Gum Veneers
These gum veneers are also used to treat receding gums. They are mostly made of silicone or acrylic and replace the empty spaces caused due to receding gums.
5. Orthodontic Repositioning
Your dentist may suggest orthodontics as a treatment to gradually move your teeth’ position over a prolonged period. This method helps correct the gum margin and keeps the teeth clean.
6. Oral Surgery
If the condition of your receding gums is severe, then your dentist may recommend oral surgery. Depending on your specific situation, the type of surgeries that your dentist might recommend can include one of the following:
- Open flap scaling and root planning
- Soft tissue graft
Risk Factors of Receding Gums
According to several studies, age is one of the critical factors for gum receding. As many as 88% of people aged 65 or older have receding gum in at least one of their teeth. Smokers are another category of people most at risk of developing gum recession.
Moreover, your genes also contribute to putting you at a higher risk of receding gums. Chronic disease like diabetes also increases the chances of receding gums and other periodontal diseases.
Can You Prevent Gum Recession?
The best way to stay safe from gum recession is to take preventive measures. The most important thing is to take care of your oral hygiene and health. Make sure that you are brushing and flossing daily. Making regular appointments with your dentist is also essential to ensure that your oral health stays optimum.
If you have a misaligned bite or teeth, make sure you consult with your dentist right away. Other preventive measures to incorporate in your life include the following:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss before brushing.
- Try to reduce or quit smoking.
- Choose a healthy and balanced diet.
- Keep monitoring your oral health closely.
You can prevent gum recession by taking good care of your oral hygiene. It’s essential to keep your teeth clean and your mouth fresh. Make sure you visit your dentist for a checkup and cleaning regularly.
If you’re worried about gum recession, then get in touch with Dr. Owyoung at Soft Touch right now for expert consultation and treatment!