Gum recession is the official term for when the gum tissue pulls away from the teeth. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but the problem with gum recession is that it leaves the teeth unsupported and the roots exposed.
If you’ve noticed that your gums are receding or your teeth are looking longer than usual, you may be wondering why. What causes gum recession and what can you do about it? Here’s what you need to know.
Potential Causes of Receding Gums
There are a few possible causes of your gum recession:
- Brushing too hard. If you brush your teeth with too much pressure or too vigorously you could be wearing away your gum tissue or causing it to become inflamed.
- Using a hard toothbrush. Using a hard bristled toothbrush or even a medium toothbrush may be too harsh for your gums and could cause recession.
- Using abrasive toothpaste. Some toothpastes contain abrasive ingredients such as baking soda that can be too harsh for your gum tissue. Using this type of toothpaste can cause the gum tissue to wear away or become irritated and pull away from the teeth.
- Plaque buildup along the gumline. Plaque is a sticky film made of food residue and bacteria that clings to the teeth and settles along the gumline. This causes the gum tissue to pull away from the teeth.
- Gum disease. When plaque remains along the gumline for too long it can cause gum disease, a bacterial infection of the gum tissue that is one of the leading causes of receding gums.
- Injury. An injury or dental trauma can damage your gum tissue or your teeth, which can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth.
- Smoking or chewing tobacco. Smoking and chewing tobacco cause poor circulation in the gum tissue, which often leads to recession.
What Problems Does Gum Recession Cause?
Gum recession can cause a variety of dental and oral health problems:
- Loose teeth. Without sufficient gum tissue for support, the teeth may become loose and even fall out.
- Sensitivity. When gum tissue recedes it leaves the roots of the teeth exposed. The roots are often sensitive to cold, heat, and sugar, which can be uncomfortable.
- Increased risk of decay. The roots of the teeth are not covered with the same hard enamel that the crowns of your teeth are. Exposure leaves them susceptible to decay.
- Bone loss. Loss of gum tissue can lead to bone loss in the jaw as well. Gum disease can damage all of the support structures for the teeth.
Can Lost Gum Tissue Grow Back?
If the cause of receding gums is treated or eliminated, will the gum tissue simply grow back? Unfortunately it won’t in most cases. Once the gums pull away from the teeth, that tissue is lost and won’t recover naturally. However, there are ways to replace lost gum tissue or encourage regeneration.
Treatment for Lost Gum Tissue
One solution for lost gum tissue is to replace it. Gum grafting is a procedure where tissue is taken from the soft palate at the roof of your mouth and applied to the teeth where the gum tissue is missing. This is a highly effective option for recouping lost gum tissue to provide better support for the teeth and reduce sensitivity.
Who Should I See About My Receding Gums?
A periodontist is a dental specialist who diagnoses and treats conditions affecting the periodontal (gum) tissue. Periodontists specialize in treating gum disease and related conditions such as receding gums.
Holzinger Periodontics provides gum grafting procedures to replace your lost gum tissue to improve your dental health as well as your smile.
Contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.