Receding gums are a symptom of gum disease. This happens when the gums begin to pull away from your teeth, dental implants, or denture making them look longer than normal. Receding gums can eventually expose tooth roots and lead to tooth loss, loose dentures, or weakened dental implants.
Although not dangerous if diagnosed and treated early, receding gums have been tied to gum cancer and other health complications if left untreated. If the cancer is not discovered, it can spread to the mouth and neck. The cancer cells can even enter the bloodstream and be carried to other parts of the body.
It’s important that you schedule an appointment with your dentist if you feel you may be showing signs of receding gums or gingivitis (early gum disease). Here are 10 common causes to think about when brushing and flossing.
10 Causes of Receding Gums
Receding gums are more common in adults age 40 or older and, along with dentures or the need for dental implants, are commonly misconceived as another symptom of aging. Men in this range are more likely to develop this issue than women. Men are also more likely to develop gum cancer from gum disease.
Just like other parts of your body, the genes passed down from your parents can affect your dental health. If your parents have problems with gum disease, you may be predisposed to the same issues, no matter how well you take care of your teeth.
Brushing Too Hard
Although it’s important to brush and floss at least twice a day, there is such a thing as brushing too aggressively. Remember to use a soft toothbrush to gently clean the teeth. Brush, don’t scrub. Whether your have dentures or All-on-4 implant, brushing your teeth shouldn’t hurt or cause bleeding. If you’re unsure of the correct way to brush, have your dentist demonstrate for you.
Gingivitis is the medical term for the early stages of gum disease. It’s during these early stages that you’ll begin to notice your gums are receding. As soon as you notice, schedule an appointment with your dentist. If left untreated, gingivitis develops into a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis.
Teeth or dentures that overlap or have large gaps can allow bacteria to grow in the gum pockets. The growth of this bacteria can lead to gum disease and receding gums. Misaligned or crooked teeth can also place abnormal amounts of pressure on your gums and jawbone, leading to recession.
The professional term for grinding or clenching your teeth is bruxism. Bruxism also puts an enormous amount of pressure on your teeth and jaw, and over time it will cause the gums to draw away from the teeth. Grinding or clenching your teeth can also be a sign of other dental issues as well as damage your dental implants or All-on-4 implants, so let your dentist know if you suspect that you’re grinding your teeth.
Smoking breaks down the enamel on your teeth and dries your mouth out. This lack of enamel and saliva allows the bacteria in plaque and tartar to severely damage your teeth and gums, leading to gum recession, gum disease, and possibly cancer.
During puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, women’s hormone levels fluctuate. This can make their gums more sensitive and susceptible to receding gums and periodontal disease.
Damage to Teeth or Gums
Accidents or blows to your mouth can damage your teeth, dental implants, All-on-4 implants, and your gums, causing the soft tissue to weaken and recede. You should visit your dentist immediately after suffering trauma to your mouth.
Some medications can cause chronic dry mouth. If the medication is taken for a long period of time, the chronic dry mouth can cause bad breath and lower levels of saliva. This lack of saliva to protect the teeth, dentures, dental implants and gums allows bacteria to destroy gum tissue.
Treating receding gums depends on the seriousness of your gum disease. If you’re showing early signs of gingivitis, your dentist can easily diagnose and treat the problem by performing a tooth scaling or root planing. Both of these are forms of deep cleaning where the plaque and tartar buildup is removed from your teeth or dental implants and roots. The root area is then smoothed over to make it more difficult for bacteria to stick. As a precaution, your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics.
If your gum recession cannot be treated by a deep cleaning, oral surgery may be required. Your periodontist will choose from three main types of surgery to treat your gums.
Flap surgery. During this procedure, your periodontist will fold the affected gums away from the tooth, remove the bacteria, and then secure the gums back in their original position over the root.
Bone and tissue regeneration. If your gum recession has progressed far enough to affect the bone supporting your teeth, dental implants, or All-on-4 implants, a regeneration procedure may be performed. In this procedure, the gum tissue is folded back and the bacteria removed. Afterward, a regenerative organ such as a membrane, graft tissue, or a stimulating protein will be applied to encourage bone and tissue growth. The gum tissue is then restored to its original position over the root.
Soft tissue graft. If your roots are exposed as result of receding gums, a soft tissue graft will be performed. This procedure involves making a small incision in the roof of your mouth and then removing a piece of the tissue from beneath the flap created. This tissue is then stitched to the gums surrounding the exposed root, allowing the tissue to grow back.
Preventing gum recession is very simple. Take good care of your teeth and gums by brushing and flossing regularly and by visiting your dentist or periodontist twice a year as recommended. Remember, regular visits will allow your dentist to spot early symptoms and treat them immediately. If you’re concerned about your oral health, would like to schedule a checkup, or would like more information on dentures, dental implants, All-on-4 implants, or the teeth in a day procedure, contact us now to for an appointment.