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Receding Gums: Why It Happens and How to Prevent It

September 14, 2015
Posted By: Dr. Russell D. Mann
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Most commonly, gum recession is caused by poor dental hygiene. But it can also be caused by hormonal changes or your teeth’s position. Here is a rundown of why someone may have receding gums and how you can prevent it.
1. Brushing your teeth too hard

When it comes to brushing your teeth, there can be too much of a good thing. If you’re too aggressive with your toothbrush, you can wear away your enamel and cause your gums to recede. We recommend you use a soft bristled brush and brush at a 45-degree angle.

2. Poor dental hygiene

If you’re not brushing and flossing enough, there will be plaque on your teeth. When plaque isn’t removed it becomes tartar. Tartar is a very hard substance that can only be removed when you have your teeth cleaned professionally. The hard tartar can push your gums back and cause receding gums.

Also, if the bacteria in your mouth isn’t removed, it can lead to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease destroys gum tissue, and it is the number one cause of receding gums.

3. Hormonal Changes
A change in hormones can make your teeth and gums more sensitive. A woman who is pregnant or going through menopause can be more likely to have the type of oral health problems like tartar buildup and periodontal disease.

4. Your Genes
Some people are predisposed gum disease. This doesn’t mean it can’t be prevented, but studies have shown that 30% of the population may be more susceptible to gum disease and receding gums.

Genes also play a part in the position of your teeth. Crooked teeth or a misaligned bite can cause problems in your mouth such as receding gums.

5. Tobacco Products
People who smoke or chew tobacco are more likely to have plaque collect in their mouth. A recent study was published in the Journal of Dental Research states that smokers are 2.6 – 3.6 times more likely to lose their teeth than nonsmokers. The tobacco leads to periodontal disease, which causes receding gums and eventual tooth loss.

6. Lip or Tongue piercings
If a piercing rubs against your gums, the irritation could cause the gums to recede.

7. Dry Mouth
Some medications can cause dry mouth, which is a lack of saliva flow in your mouth. Saliva protects your teeth by washing away bacteria, and if there is less of it you are more susceptible to oral health problems.

How to Prevent Gum Recession
Take good care of your teeth and gums. Brush twice daily and floss every day. If you notice anything different about your gums talk to your dentist. If you are a smoker, start on the path to quitting. Also, eat a healthy and balanced diet.

How are receding gums treated?
If your gum recession is mild, your dentist may schedule a deep cleaning. During this cleaning, they will remove any plaque and tartar that is built up below the gum line. If this doesn’t work, you may need surgery.

The surgical procedures that treat receding gums are pocket depth reduction, regeneration and gum tissue grafting. Depending on your needs, your dentist can recommend the best course of action.

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