Gums that recede are a common condition in adults. When you have receding gums, your teeth appear longer and tooth roots may be exposed. This can cause gum sensitivity – even tooth loss. Your dentist can treat receding gums and prevent the condition from becoming worse.
What causes receding gums?
Adults may develop receding gums due to years of rough tooth brushing. In some cases, receding gums are caused by periodontal disease (gum disease). Other causes include:
What is periodontal disease?
Plaque contains bacteria, and bacteria will irritate your gums. When plaque isn't removed from the teeth daily, it can build up and produce toxins. These toxins cause gum inflammation. If left untreated, this inflammatory process can destroy gum tissue. The gums will separate from the teeth and form pockets. The pockets then hold more bacteria, which makes the problem worse.
Gum disease is usually detected during a dental check-up and can be treated by a dentist or dental hygienist.
Are receding gums common?
Yes. Receding gums are often a sign of aging. Most adults over the age of 40 will develop receding gums.
Are receding gums painful?
Receding gums usually aren't painful. Some people may experience tooth sensitivity.
Do receding gums cause tooth loss?
If periodontal disease isn't treated, your teeth can eventually become loose. Periodontal disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in people over the age of 40.
Can receding gums be fixed?
Receding gums can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene. You can prevent receding gums by using a soft-bristle toothbrush. Brush your teeth with mild-to-moderate pressure using small, circular motions – no rough, back-and-forth brushing.
If your gums have receded, you may experience sensitivity due to exposed tooth roots. Your dentist may recommend a topical medication for home use. The medication can help reduce root sensitivity and protect root surfaces from decay.
In some cases, a dentist can graft tissue to cover exposed root surfaces and protect sensitive gum tissue from receding further. This is called gum grafting.
Gum grafting is a surgical procedure performed by a dentist or periodontist. During the procedure, the dental professional will cover exposed root surfaces with grafted oral tissue.
Gum grafting restores gum health, reduces discomfort, and improves tooth appearance.
With daily brushing and flossing and regular visits to your dentist, you can look forward to healthy gums and a bright smile in the years to come.