Combat Receding GumsWritten by Advice Team on February 10, 2016
Receding gums, or gingival recession, is the process in which the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth pulls back exposing more of the tooth, or worse, the tooth's root.
During gum recession, gaps open between the teeth and gum line, making it easy for disease-causing bacteria to build up. If left untreated, the supporting tissue and bone structures of the teeth can be severely damaged, and can eventually result in gum disease and tooth loss.
Gum recession is a common dental problem, usually in adults over 40 but can occur at anytime. Most people don't know they have gum recession because it occurs gradually. The first sign of gum recession is usually tooth sensitivity, or you may notice a tooth looks longer than normal. Typically, a notch can be felt near the gum line.
The best way to prevent gum recession is to adopt a good oral hygiene routine. Brush and floss your teeth every day and see your dentist twice a year, or as recommended (if you have gum recession, your dentist may want to see you more often). Here’s some further tips on what you can do to help prevent gum recession.
Change Your Toothbrush Often Make sure you change your toothbrush often (every 4 weeks for a manual toothbrush and every 3 months for an electric toothbrush head). Using a toothbrush with worn or frayed bristles will actually scrub away tooth enamel and will eventually leading to damage of vital tooth structure.
Go Gently Many people actually brush their teeth too aggressively and apply too much pressure which can damage the tooth and gum line leading to gum recession. If this is a habit you may find an electric toothbrushes with a built-in pressure sensor that alerts you if you apply too much pressure helpful.
Choose a soft bristled brush and brush methodically and gently using a fluoride toothpaste to strengthen tooth enamel and help prevent further damage. Go easy on the use of whitening toothpaste; these products contain hydrated silica which is abrasive and if used too much can actually damage your teeth. If your teeth aren’t as white as you would like a trip to your hygienist is the best option; they will perform a really deep clean that is far more effective and far less harsh than you can achieve at home.
Stay Away From Acidic Foods And Drinks Acids found in many foods and drinks including fizzy drinks, citrus foods and juices, coffee and wine can accelerate gum recession. Enamel is more resistant to acid, but dentin in the roots is not. The root can be dramatically injured in a short period of time when exposed to acidic substances. Buffer these acids by diluting it with water or by drinking a neutral drink (water or milk) alongside the acidic drink and by chewing sugar-free gum after snacks and meals.
Wear A Night Guard If you grind or clench your teeth speak to your dentist about the possibility of being fitted with a night guard and wear it at night while you sleep. Night guards protect your teeth from grinding together which eventually leads to your teeth flattening as they got more and more worn down. Sever tooth grinding can wear teeth right down to the nerve, leading to tooth sensitivity, cracking, tooth loss and jaw pain as well as receding gums.
Teeth grinding can be caused by a misaligned bite; if you suffer from this talk to your dentist about how to correct the problem.
Prevent Gum Disease Gum disease is the main cause of gum recession; unfortunately gum disease will pretty much guarantee quick and irreversible gum recession. Prevention is far better than cure; reduce the risk of gum disease by following a good oral hygiene routine and making regular appointments with your dentist and hygienist.