When all is well in the mouth, the gums are pink and healthy and hold the teeth snugly in place. However, a number of factors can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, exposing the roots and leading to discomfort and complications if a person isn’t careful. Although receding gums can cause problems in the mouth, it’s important to understand that they can occur even in people who otherwise take great care of their teeth and gums.
Understanding what’s behind your receding gums will help you to determine the best treatment options.
Gum or periodontal disease can lead to receding gums. As the gums become more inflamed, they pull away from the teeth, creating pockets that can harbor bacteria. The teeth begin to look longer, and the root of the tooth is also exposed. If the gum disease isn’t treated quickly, the bacteria in the pockets continue to attack the gums and bone so that eventually the affected teeth can become loose and fall out.
Brushing Too Hard
When it comes to taking care of your teeth and gums, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. You might think that it’s a good idea to use a lot of force or pressure when brushing to really get the plaque off of your teeth. Unfortunately, the extra force can also put strain on your gums, causing you to essentially brush them away. You might also experience gingival recession if you floss with too much force or vigor.
If your oral care habits are partially to blame when it comes to your receding gums, your dentist will most likely give you tips for improving your brushing habits. It might be that using less force or applying a light touch is all you need to do. If you use a brush with hard bristles, he might recommend switching to a soft bristled brush.
Some patients find that using an electric toothbrush instead of a manual toothbrush helps them to use less pressure when they brush. Still, it’s worth keeping in mind that it’s possible to be too forceful with an electric toothbrush, too.
You might have inherited your receding gums from mom or dad (or maybe from both parents). Some people have gum tissue that is weaker than others, and there’s not much you can do about it. If one or both of your parents had gum recession, you’re likely to as well.
You might already know that smoking increases your risk for gum disease. Here’s yet another negative effect it has on your mouth: it also makes receding gums more likely. The ingredients in tobacco weaken your gum tissue and make your gums more likely to be inflamed, irritated or to pull away from the teeth. Quitting smoking now might not reverse any gum recession you already have, but it will prevent further recession from occurring.
Dentures are often the least expensive option for replacing a missing tooth or teeth. But they aren’t without their drawbacks, one of which is that, if they don’t fit right, you can be left with receding gums. If the dentures are able to move around in their position, they can irritate the gum tissue, ultimately causing it to pull back from the teeth.
Injury to the Mouth
A sport injury or other cause of trauma to the mouth can cause the gum tissue to recede. In some cases, the trauma can be caused by a habit of yours, such as teeth grinding. Putting constant pressure on the teeth doesn’t just wear down the enamel, it can also wear away the surrounding gum tissue.
Help for Receding Gums
When it comes to treating gum recession, the first step is figuring out what’s causing it and focusing on correcting that issue. Otherwise, the gums will continue to pull back and any treatments to correct the recession will be for naught. For example, if the cause of the recession is gum disease, treating the gum disease through a deep cleaning is often the first step, followed by a gum graft or procedure such as the pinhole technique. Alloderm is another option that allows your doctor to perform the soft tissue procedure you need without the limitations associated with retrieving the tissue from the root of your mouth. In the case of using too much force when brushing, changing your brushing habits is the first step. If dentures that don’t fit properly are behind your receding gums, it might be worth discussing longer-lasting, more secure tooth replacement options, such as dental implants, with your dentist.
No matter what the cause of your receding gums is, working with a team of periodontists, such as Dr. John Paul Gallardo in Miami, is key to the overall success of your treatment. The periodontists offer a range of gum disease treatment options, as well as implants, to patients who need them. To schedule a consultation with the periodontists, call (305) 447-1447 today.