Receding gums are a common dental health problem affecting a large number of Americans. Gum recession refers to the process by which the gum tissue that surrounds to teeth pulls back or wears away, exposing more of the tooth or the tooth’s root. When this occurs, pockets or gaps form between the teeth and the gum line, leaving a place for bacteria to accumulate and cause problems. If left untreated, this harmful bacteria can damage and destroy the supporting tissue and bone structure of the teeth and eventually lead to tooth loss.
There are a number of factors that can lead to gum recession including periodontal disease, genetic factors, hormonal changes, overly aggressive tooth brushing, using tobacco products and grinding and/or clenching your teeth. If your receding gums are being caused by periodontal disease, you need to visit your dentist for treatment. There are a variety of treatments that can be used to treat periodontal disease including a deep cleaning (scaling and root planing), antimicrobial medications and even surgery. If your gum recession is being caused by hormonal fluctuations such as pregnancy, puberty or menopause, your dentist may recommend more frequent dental cleanings than every six months. If your receding gums are being caused by overly aggressive tooth brushing, your dentist may recommend that you invest in an electrically powered toothbrush such as a Sonicare. This type of toothbrush will prevent you from placing too much pressure on the gums when you brush and will help to prevent you from dragging the toothbrush against your gums.
One thing is for certain: gum recession should not be ignored. If you notice that your gums are receding or are experiencing tooth sensitivity, schedule an appointment with your dentist today. After a thorough evaluation, your dentist can recommend the most appropriate treatment or treatments to help safeguard your long-term dental health.
Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health