Have you noticed your teeth look longer than before? It could be because your gums are receding. Receding gums are a common problem, where the gum surrounding your teeth begins to pull away, exposing more of the tooth and eventually the tooth root. Because gum recession takes place gradually, many people do not realise they have this problem, but signs include increased tooth sensitivity and teeth that start to look longer.
What Causes Gum Recession?
Your gums can recede because of several factors that include:
- Gum disease or periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that gradually destroys gums and other structures supporting your teeth, including your jawbone. It is a major cause of gum recession.
- Brushing your teeth too hard can wear away your tooth enamel and your gums.
- Poor oral care makes it easy for dental plaque to build up over your teeth and gums. Dental plaque contains harmful bacteria that cause gum disease and hardens into calculus within just a couple of days.
- Teeth grinding and clenching is a condition called bruxism. It often occurs during sleep and can substantially damage your teeth, wearing them down and placing excessive pressure on your gums, so they start to recede.
- A poor bite where teeth are misaligned can place excess pressure on your gums and jawbone, eventually causing gum recession.
Preventing Gum Recession
Gum recession is preventable with proper oral care. Ensuring you remove dental plaque and food debris thoroughly will help you maintain stronger and healthier gums.
Make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. You do not need to scrub your teeth hard to get them thoroughly clean, as it’s more about using the proper technique. If you are unsure about how to brush your teeth properly or want a quick refresher, ask us for practical help and advice.
Don’t forget to floss your teeth once a day. It’s up to you whether you do it first thing in the morning or last thing at night, or before or after brushing your teeth, but it is an essential task. We know many people find it tricky to floss their teeth comfortably and thoroughly, so if you are struggling, ask us for help. We can demonstrate the proper techniques for flossing or can talk about alternative tools to try. Once you know how to floss properly, it will quickly become a habit, and we can always tell who flosses regularly because their gums are stronger.
If you have bruxism, visit our practice for a proper diagnosis and help. Our dentist can quickly identify the signs of bruxism, and one easy way to treat it is with a custom-made night guard. The night guard fits comfortably over your teeth, preventing them from contacting, so your teeth grind harmlessly against the guard.
What If I Already Have Signs of Gum Recession?
Mild gum recession is often easily treated by cleaning your teeth professionally, getting rid of the plaque and calculus build up causing this problem. We can also deep clean your gums if you have more significant signs of gum infections.