A Little Too Long in the Tooth: What Causes Gums to Recede?

January 12, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — texastoothlady @ 11:40 pm
Woman shows off gums

Gum recession is a common dental health issue that can occur for a variety of reasons. It happens when the gum tissue begins to pull away from the teeth, leaving more of the roots exposed and making the teeth appear longer. While this can happen for reasons in or out of the patient’s control, your dentist or periodontist can treat the problem to prevent it from getting worse. Here’s a brief guide to gum recession, what causes it, and what can be done about it.

What Causes Gums to Recede?

Gums can begin to recede from the teeth for several reasons. A few of them include:

  • Poor oral health: Plaque buildup can lead to infections that cause inflammation in the gums, causing them to recede.
  • Over-brushing or over-flossing: Practicing your oral hygiene too aggressively can hurt your gums. Take care to brush and floss gently.
  • Family history: People can be more at risk of gum disease for genetic reasons.
  • Malocclusion: An improper bite alignment can stress the gums and cause recession.
  • Bruxism: Habitually grinding or clenching the teeth can lead to gum recession, tooth sensitivity, or tooth loss.
  • Injury: A blow to the gums or teeth can cause gum recession.
  • Tobacco use: Smoking or chewing tobacco is terrible for your gums and can cause them to recede.

What Problems Does Gum Recession Cause?

Your gums serve to protect your teeth from infection and injury, and the edge of your gumline around your teeth is called the gingival margin. When the gums start to recede, the gingival margin begins to pull away from the tooth and expose its root. When a root is exposed, it is more vulnerable to injury and decay and may also become more sensitive because the nerve endings are less protected.

How Can Receding Gums Be Treated?

Luckily, modern dentistry has developed ways of treating receding gums. Dentists help patients who have plaque and tartar under the gumline and at the roots of their teeth by using scaling and root planing. These techniques result in a deep clean that eliminates bacteria and infected tissue.

Gum disease is a common problem, but it can be managed and resolved, especially if it is caught early. Seeing your dentist regularly can help keep your gums healthy and beautiful.

About the Author

Dr. Terri Alani earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery from the University of Texas Houston. She is a sought-after lecturer and has been featured in several dental publications. She is a member of the Texas Dental Association, the American Dental Association, and the Greater Houston Dental Society. Her office in Houston, TX offers general, cosmetic, restorative, and emergency dentistry in addition to gum disease treatments. For more information on how a receding gumline can be treated, contact her office online or dial (713) 621-5141.

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