November 27, 2021
One of the most common symptoms associated with gum disease is receding oral tissues. When they begin to pull back and expose more of the natural tooth structure, it increases the risk for further infection and irreversible damage. While a person’s gums cannot grow back, there are things a dentist can do as well as helpful at-home tips that are designed to prevent worsening problems and prevent gum disease in the first place.
What Causes Gum Recession?
Gum recession can occur for many reasons; however, bacteria that begin to attack the soft oral tissues and teeth is most common. As plaque spreads, it causes gum pockets to form, pulling them away from a person’s teeth and tooth roots. As a result, more bacteria and food particles can become trapped, making it more likely for an individual to suffer decay and possible tooth loss.
Other reasons for gum recession include aggressive brushing, poor oral hygiene, bad habits (i.e., smoking, chewing on inanimate objects, eating ice, biting fingernails), serious facial trauma, and bruxism (teeth grinding).
Ways a Dentist Can Treat Gum Recession
Although the initial stage of gum disease (gingivitis) is reversible if caught early enough, the longer you wait to seek help, the worse your symptoms will become, and the more maintenance your teeth and gums will require to ensure better oral health.
If you discover your gums are receding because of periodontal disease, your dentist may recommend:
- Deep Cleaning: This involves scaling and root planing, which clears out bad bacteria from your gum pockets and smooths out the tooth roots to encourage your gum tissue to reattach over time.
- Gum Grafting: To better protect the structures of your teeth and minimize further infection, a gum graft can be performed. This includes removing a small bit of tissue from another part of the oral cavity (roof of the mouth) and placing it in the appropriate areas along the gum line.
5 Tips to Avoid Gum Disease
While there are options for treating gum disease and recession, it is better if you be proactive about your oral health and find ways to avoid it altogether. You can do this by:
- Maintaining good oral hygiene at home, which includes brushing twice a day for two minutes and using fluoride toothpaste. You’ll also need to floss at least once a day before bed to remove bacteria from between your teeth. The last step is to rinse with a mouthwash designed to prevent gingivitis.
- Give up bad habits that can wear down your tooth enamel and cause your gums to recede.
- Continue to see your dentist every six months for dental checkups and cleanings.
- Switch from a manual to an electric toothbrush if you are prone to aggressively brushing your teeth.
- Talk to your dentist about a customized mouthguard to help if you are prone to bruxism and grinding your teeth at night.
Taking control of your oral health will help you avoid many common oral health problems, one of which is gum disease. Talk to your dentist about what you can do if receding soft tissues is evident and commit to taking better care of your smile with each passing year.
About the Author
Dr. Warren Hoffman is a dentist in North Sarasota who leads a team of dental professionals at Parkway Ridge Dental. Committed to helping patients achieve healthy, beautiful smiles, he is pleased to offer periodontal therapy to individuals suffering from gum disease. If receding soft oral tissues are causing you to feel self-conscious about your appearance, contact us at (941) 358-8830. Let us help you get your oral health back on track.