Receding gums is when the margin of the gum tissue surrounding the teeth wears away or pulls back. It’s a form of gum disease most common in adults aged 40+.
If untreated, receding gums can lead to the gradual exposure of the tooth and tooth decay and is one of the many serious consequences of poor oral health.
What Are The Signs Of Gum Recession?
Receding gums can be difficult to self-diagnose, as changes often occur gradually and without symptoms. It’s important to attend regular dentist and dental hygienist appointments as they’ll check for signs of recession and advise whether any treatment is required.
Obvious signs of gum recession include:
- Visible roots and/or visible shrinking gums.
- Red, swollen gums.
- Bad breath.
- Longer-looking teeth.
- Loose teeth.
- Pain at the gum line.
What Causes Gum Recession?
Brushing too hard is a common cause of gum recession. Electric toothbrushes often have a sensor that lights up to show when too much pressure is applied, helping users avoid causing damage to their teeth and gums.
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a serious infection that damages the soft tissue surrounding the teeth, leading to receding gums. Without treatment, it can destroy the bone that supports the teeth and lead to tooth loss. You can reduce your chances of developing it by maintaining good oral hygiene, including regular brushing and dental checkups.
Smoking is another common cause of gum recession. People who smoke are more likely to produce bacterial plaque, which leads to receding gums and, eventually, gum disease.
Tooth misalignment can make brushing and flossing more difficult. This leads to plaque build-up, which turns into tartar and traps bacteria, increasing your risk of gum disease. If your teeth are crooked, crowded, or out of line with each other, you may struggle to get your toothbrush bristles or dental floss between your teeth. Regular hygienist appointments will remove any build-up and help to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Hormonal changes in women during menopause can lead to a loss of bone density. Receding gums can be a sign of bone loss in the jawbone and can be caused by declining levels of oestrogen.
Health conditions can also be an underlying cause of receding gums. People with Type 2 diabetes are around three times more likely to develop dental problems than those who don’t have diabetes, and those with Type 1 diabetes are also more at risk. Gingivitis is common for those living with HIV and can lead to bone loss around the teeth and receding gums.
How Can You Reduce The Risk Of Receding Gums?
Maintaining an effective oral hygiene routine will help keep your mouth healthy, and you can download our free at-home guide to a healthy mouth for expert tips on how you can achieve this.
If you smoke, giving up has a range of health benefits, including reducing the risk of receding gums. Smoking makes it harder for gum tissue to repair itself and causes germs to get on your teeth and under your gums. This causes a layer of plaque to develop, which then turns into tartar.
Regular dentist and dental hygienist appointments will also help reduce the risk of receding gums and gum disease. They’ll monitor the health of your teeth and gums and carry out scale and polish or air polishing treatments to clean your mouth and remove any plaque or tartar.
What Are The Consequences Of Receding Gums?
Gum recession can lead to several unpleasant consequences, such as:
- Increased tooth sensitivity.
- Root decay.
- Uneven gum margins and visible root surface (this is usually darker and yellow in colour).
- Breakdown of the tissue and bone surrounding the teeth leading to tooth loss.
Therefore, if you have any concerns, it’s important to book a check-up as soon as possible so your dentist can advise on how to address these.
Receding Gums Treatment In Sheffield
At Mola Dental, we’re very lucky to have Dr Michael Goodman on the team. He is one of the few clinicians in Sheffield with advanced training in the management of periodontal disease and can offer several different treatment or therapy options.