Your gums play a crucial role in the health of your teeth. Gums cover and protect the tooth
roots and also serve to help anchor the teeth in place. In fact, gum disease is often the primary
cause of tooth loss in adults. Without healthy gum tissue, teeth are less likely to survive!
Receding gumlines happen when your gum tissue actually begins to pull back from the teeth
and begins to expose tooth roots, which can be painful and cause tooth sensitivity. You might
notice that your teeth look longer or see exposed tooth roots (a darker tissue at the root of the
tooth). How do receding gumlines happen, and what can be done?
Causes of Receding Gums
Receding gums can have numerous causes or may be a combination of causes. Often, patients
don’t realize that brushing too hard or flossing too aggressively can both cause receding gum
tissue. These habits aggravate the gums and can cause inflammation and eventually, recession.
Gum disease is another cause of gum tissue pulling away from the teeth. When bacteria aren’t properly removed from the teeth, especially near the gumline, these bacteria can irritate the gum tissue and cause swelling, redness, and bleeding. If left to persist, it can cause infection and tooth loss.
Other patients may be genetically predisposed to gum disease or receding gums as a result of
the alignment of their teeth or their unique oral bacteria. Patients can also have receding gum
tissue due to teeth grinding, which can inflame healthy gum tissue and cause it to regress. Determining the cause will help determine the treatment!
Treatment for Receding Gumlines
Like most diseases, catching gum recession early can help your treatment be more successful.
The cause of your receding gums will determine your treatment. The following are possible
causes and their possible treatments:
Aggressive oral care habits. Your dentist may advise you to buy a soft-bristled
toothbrush and be more careful when brushing and flossing; your dentist should
demonstrate the correct way to brush and floss without hurting your gums.
Gum disease. Your dentist may suggest a root planing and scaling, which is another
term for a deep cleaning that helps to remove any infection and bacteria from the gum tissue. This procedure can help heal gum disease and encourage gum tissue grow back.
Teeth grinding. Your dentist will fit you with a nightly mouthguard to help protect your teeth and gums from the immense pressure of teeth grinding.
Genetics or tooth alignment. Your dentist will help you determine the best treatment
for this, although checkups, proper home care habits for your smile, and orthodontics
may be able to help!
Letting your gums continue to recede without professional help can lead to the need for a gum
graft, which involves taking tissue from elsewhere in the mouth to help your gum tissue heal.
Getting treatment now can help you avoid a gum graft and get your smile back to normal!
Regardless of what’s causing your receding gums, your dentist can help. Dentists are trained to
determine the issue and work with you to create a treatment plan to resolve the problem. Your
gum tissue protects your teeth and keeps them healthy and safe—don’t ignore receding gums if
you notice them!