Receding gums happen when the gum tissue that surrounds the lower ends of the teeth begin to wear away and pull back, thus exposing the tooth and possibly its root. Gaps between the teeth, also known as pockets, form, allowing bacteria to nestle inside the available space causing more harm, including inflammation, gum disease, and tooth loss. To help prevent your gums from receding, it helps to know what causes receding gums, and ultimately, how to prevent it.
There are a number of reasons for receding gums, some which are not in your control, and some which are. Here are the main causes of receding gums:
Periodontal or Gum Disease
While receding gums can often perpetuate and/or cause gum disease, it can also cause your gums to recede. Gum disease is a bacterial infection that destroys gum tissue, which first includes the areas around the teeth.
Brushing Too Hard
While you may think you’re doing a good job brushing, you may actually be causing more damage than good if you brush too aggressively. This can wear down the enamel of your teeth and push your gums down, causing them to recede.
Unfortunately, some people are more susceptible to receding gums and gum disease than others. If your family members have had problems with their gums, you may want to pay more attention to yours.
Another uncontrollable factor, certain periods in a woman’s lifetime can cause hormonal changes that cause your gums to become more sensitive and more prone to gum disease and receding gums. This includes puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
Tobacco products tend to leave more plaque on your teeth, allowing more bacteria to build up and cause your gums to recede.
Lack of Dental Care
Along with brushing and flossing daily, visits to your dentist for cleanings and inspection will help keep your gums from receding. Ignoring both daily brushing and flossing as well as dental visits, will allow plaque and tartar to build up and your gums to recede.
Grinding Your Teeth
When you grind your teeth, you are often putting too much force on them, which can result in gums receding.
These are the main causes of receding gums, all, except for two, you are able to prevent. The good news is, that with proper care, you can improve the effects of receding gums and gum disease. If it’s a more serious case of gum disease, a visit to your dentist for a deep cleaning, and potentially a prescription for antibiotics to kill the bacteria, will be in order. In the worst cases, soft tissue grafts and pocket depth reduction procedures can help stop your gums from receding and build a better smile.
The best way to prevent receding gums is by daily brushing and flossing along with the use of a low-alcohol mouthwash. Dental check ups with an experienced dentist every six months are also a necessity. As well, avoid tobacco products and eat foods high in nutritional content such as fruits and vegetables.
While it may not be a concern now, receding gums and gum disease can lead to many more complications you will be happier without. Taking preventative measures and understanding the causes are the best way to keep that bright smile.