Gum recession is a widespread dental issue that effects approximately 88% of people over the age of 65. When an individual’s gums begin to recede, their gum tissue pulls back from the tooth surface and exposes the root. Once thought of as an inevitable sign of aging, dental professionals now have discovered treatments and preventable steps to protect people from this common dental problem. Let’s dig into the causes, symptoms, and treatments of receding gums and how to best prevent yourself from developing this issue.
Causes & Symptoms of Receding Gums
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is usually a precursor for receding gums. What starts off as gingivitis, or the buildup of plaque, eventually damages the gums to the point where it falls back from the teeth. As this process slowly worsens over time, there are a number of other precursors to receding gums besides periodontal disease, such as:
- Aggressive flossing or brushing can cause the enamel of your teeth to wear away.
- Smoking or chewing tobacco negatively impacts gum health.
- Genetics can make individuals more predisposed to receding gums.
- Diabetes, HIV, dramatic hormonal changes, bruxism, among other health symptoms can cause receding gums.
Gum recession can range from mild to severe and can affect one or multiple teeth. While you’ll want a dental professional to diagnose you first, there are some common symptoms that indicate the onset of gum recession, which includes:
- Tooth root exposure.
- Discomfort or pain near the line of your gums.
- Sensitive or bleeding gums when flossing or brushing.
- Sensitivity to warm or cold foods.
- Bad breath, or halitosis.
- Loose teeth.
Some people may not experience these symptoms and therefore remain unaware that their gums are receding. If left untreated, severe recession of the gums can lead to tooth decay and tooth loss.
Preventions & Treatments of Receding Gums
One of the absolute best ways to prevent the onset of receding gums is to practice healthy oral habits. By flossing and brushing with less pressure, you can avoid wearing down the enamel in your teeth. While flossing regularly removes bacteria, plaque, and food particles, regular dental visits remains one of the absolute best way to identify and improve deteriorated gum health. Other practices to prevent gum recession includes to quit smoking, eating a healthy diet, or wearing a mouthguard at night to prevent teeth grinding.
However, if you already are suffering from gum recession, your dentist may recommend one of the following procedures depending on the severity of recession:
- Root planning, or tooth scaling, can help treat mild gum recession. This is when the gums are peeled back to expose tooth roots, which are then smoothed down to make it more difficult for bacteria to attach the surface.
- For more severe cases, gum regeneration is a surgical treatment that can help regenerate the damaged gum tissue or tooth root. The dental professional will first remove plaque from the impacted area, to then apply a regenerative membrane material which helps the mouth naturally restore the damaged tooth and gums.
- Gum grafts are one of the most extreme options for severe cases of gum recessions. This is where gum tissue is grafted from the surrounding mouth (typically the roof of the mouth) and stitched to the gum tissue to cover the exposed tooth root.
One of the most common causes of gum recession is periodontal disease, and flossing regularly is one of the absolute best ways to prevent the onset of gingivitis. Flossing is the only way to remove plaque from between your teeth, flossing regularly also helps keep tartar out of hard-to-reach places. GumChucks’ design ensures a flossing experience that’s faster, easier, and more effective than competing flossers or traditional floss. Our two handles with disposable floss allow you to comfortably reach all your teeth, even those in the back while wrapping the floss around each tooth. This creates the vital “C-Shape” necessary to get below the gum line and effectively clean each tooth.
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