People used to believe that gum recession was a natural part of aging, but this isn’t always the case. How does gum recession occur? It occurs when the gum tissue around the tooth’s crown recedes, gradually exposing more of the tooth’s base. Gum recession can begin as early as childhood, despite the fact that we frequently associate it with aging because it typically manifests over many years or even decades. It can frequently be avoided as well.
A Factor We Can’t Control: Genetics
For an unlucky few, gum recession is caused by genetics. They may have more fragile gum tissue than average or weaker jaw bones that can’t support enough gingiva to keep the roots of the teeth fully covered. However, there isn’t a gene for automatic gum recession, so even people with genetic risk factors can do a lot to keep their gums healthy and minimize recession.
Yes, It’s Possible to Brush Too Hard
Actually, overbrushing is a significant factor in gum recession. You may be brushing excessively vigorously, which over time can seriously harm both the gum tissue and tooth enamel. If your toothbrush eventually ends up with the bristles twisted outward, stop brushing immediately. Our teeth and gums were not made to withstand repeated, severe scrubbing.
That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for brushing twice a day! Aim for a Goldilocks approach. Do brush twice daily, but also make sure to use a toothbrush with soft bristles and only apply gentle pressure when you brush. The same goes for flossing. Definitely floss daily, but be gentle on those gums!
Grinding Teeth Impacts Gum Tissue Too
Chronic teeth-grinding, or bruxism, increases the likelihood of gum recession and causes a variety of other oral health issues, including damage to the teeth. The gums may start to shrink over time because grinding causes a lot of stress on them. Especially if it occurs at night, bruxism can be challenging to kick. You don’t have to battle a grinding habit by yourself, which is good news. A dentist can assist!
Gingivitis Makes Gums More Vulnerable
Gingivitis and more advanced forms of gum disease can actually destroy the supporting gum tissue and bone around the roots of our teeth. This is what makes gum disease the main cause of gum recession. To keep the gums healthy, a daily oral hygiene routine is critical, but so are regular professional cleanings at a dental practice. Only the pros can remove plaque that has hardened into tartar, and the longer tartar is allowed to remain, the more it will irritate the gums.
Even Kids Can Get Gum Recession
It’s uncommon, but kids aren’t immune to gum recession just because they’re young. The same causes can affect gum tissue in kids as in adults: overbrushing, poor oral hygiene, and bruxism. Another cause is oral injury. The best treatment for kids as well as adults is prevention by maintaining good oral health habits.
Healthy Gums for Healthy Smiles!
The hygienist will check your gum pockets for signs of inflammation or recession at regular dental appointments, so make sure to schedule those twice a year! If you have any questions about gum recession, how to prevent it, and how it can be treated, just ask. We want all of our patients to have the information and tools they need to maintain healthy gums.