Gum recession occurs when your gums are worn away due to periodontal disease (the destruction of bone that holds your teeth in place). As the bone is destroyed, the gums (gingival tissue) shrinks down with it. Gingival (gum) tissue covers the jaw bone that protects the root of each tooth. If your gums recede it can lead to very serious conditions like root decay, infection inside the root, and possible tooth loss.
As with most dental concerns, it’s important to take a preventative approach to gum health, because once the bone is destroyed it cannot be regenerated.
Why Does Gum Recession Happen?
Gum recession can occur due to a number of reasons, such as smoking or chewing tobacco, brushing too hard, misalignment of teeth or having naturally thinner bone covering the root structures, the most common cause is poor oral hygiene which creates gingivitis and leads to periodontal (gum) disease.
Gingivitis occurs when there is a buildup of plaque on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film that is formed from saliva, food particles and oral bacteria which constantly forms on your teeth and along the gum line. When plaque builds up, it can cause inflamed or bleeding gums (gingivitis). Gingivitis is reversible if treated early but if left untreated it can lead to periodontal disease. This gradual loss of bone over time and the resulting shrinking gum line may cause space between teeth, lead to mobility of the tooth (if periodontal disease is severe) and eventual tooth loss.
The Best Ways to Prevent Gum Recession
Brush your teeth gently — you don’t have to push down hard with your toothbrush to clean properly. The key to keeping your teeth clean is to gently brush your teeth in a circular motion at an angle towards your gum line for the most optimal results.
Use the right toothbrush — all teeth are not created equal. Manual, electric and water infused toothbrushes all have different capabilities. Our doctors at Cusumano & Stuver Dentistry of Arlington can provide you with a recommendation for which brushing mechanism is best for your teeth. Make sure to ask your dental hygienist for tips on how to brush effectively and protect your teeth, gums and bone structures.
Floss at least once a day — flossing should be part of your daily routine alongside brushing your teeth. Studies have shown that flossing before brushing can help reduce plaque buildup.
Align your bite — straightening your teeth isn’t always for esthetic reasons, crooked teeth or a misaligned bite can place excess force on the gums and jawbone which can make it more likely for your gums to recede. Cusumano & Stuver is proud to be an Invisalign Gold Provider, and can advise if Invisalign is the right preventative measure for you.
Avoid mouth piercings — if you wear jewelry in your mouth or tongue, this will irritate your teeth and gums, wearing them down over time. Avoid “playing” with your piercing and remove them while sleeping if possible.
Stop smoking — tobacco products can leave a sticky residue on your tooth’s enamel, stain teeth and may be difficult to remove. Smoking and chewing tobacco is a major factor when considering periodontal disease and accelerates gum recession.
Don’t miss your dentist visits — receding gums can be hard to spot. Signs and symptoms such as sensitivity to cold or hot foods, visually seeing the root surface or noticing a loose tooth. Therefore it’s important to visit our dental office in Arlington regularly (at least twice a year) for an exam, cleaning and oral hygiene instruction. Our doctors at Cusumano & Stuver Dentistry of Arlington will provide a thorough exam, discuss options for any issues that may arise and offer you the best treatment options.
Call us today at 703-525-4071 today or schedule an appointment online so we can advise you on your gum health.