Everyone is aware that brushing is important for the health of their teeth, but a lot of people forget about the health of their gums. However, caring for you gums is just as important as caring for your teeth! A common problem, and one that can be an indicator of more severe problems on the horizon, is receding gums.
Gum recession is when the edge of the tissue surrounding the teeth pulls back from the teeth and wears away, exposing more of the tooth, or, eventually, the tooth’s root. This is a sure sign of gum disease. Gum recession is hard on the teeth as well. Gaps form between the teeth and gum line, which acts as havens for bacteria. This can cause severe damage to the teeth and even jaw if not treated.
Receding gums are common, but sometimes hard to catch. The first sign of gum recession is usually sensitive teeth, or it may be that one of your teeth looks a bit longer than usual. Everyone should look for these signs and be aware of the causes of gum recession. Bacteria can eat away at your gums, so infrequent brushing and flossing can cause receding gums. On the other hand, brushing your teeth too hard can also cause gums to wear away (as well as destroying your enamel). Bruxism, or teeth grinding, and jaw clenching put pressure on teeth and gums, can cause recession. Crooked teeth or a misaligned bite can also cause undue stress on the teeth and gums. Oral piercings can sometimes wear gum tissue away by constantly rubbing or irritating oral tissue. Using tobacco products also increases plaque which is damaging to your gums. Even things like hormone fluctuations, especially in women, can make gums susceptible to recession, and some people are unfortunately genetically more likely to develop gum disease. No matter how well you care for your teeth, you should visit our office regularly for cleanings.
Mild gum recession may be treated by deep cleaning the affected area at our office. Sometimes antibiotics can be prescribed to get rid of any remaining harmful bacteria. If the condition is severe enough, gum surgery may be required to repair the damage. An oral surgeon may do a “pocket depth reduction” which eradicates bacteria from the gum tissue, or a “regeneration” or “soft tissue graft” if your teeth and gums have been extensively damaged. In order to avoid these complications, just remember to pay attention to your gums and visit us frequently.