Gum recession is the process where the gum’s margin that is attached to the tooth begins to pull away and degenerate. This exposes the root of the tooth and allows for pockets to form where disease-causing bacteria can snuggly make home and multiply. The microorganisms themselves plus their toxins cause an inflammatory reaction in the gum tissue and cause the underlying structure of the tooth to decay.
Some telltale signs that your gums are receding are a noticeable recession in the gum line itself (tooth may appear longer) and tooth hypersensitivity. If left unchecked, the diseased tooth may have to be removed in order to prevent abscess formation and spread to neighboring healthy tissue
What causes gum recession?
A number of causes have been linked to gum recession. They are;
Genetics – Genetics play a huge role in many diseases’ etiologies. Studies have shown that 30% of the population may be predisposed to gum disease.
Tobacco use – Tobacco causes staining of teeth and substances such as tar in cigarette smoke cause inflammatory changes to occur in gingival tissue.
Brushing too hard – brushing too hard can cause enamel wear, enamel being the uppermost layer of the tooth, and cause damage to the gum line eventually causing it to recede. Toothbrushes that have softer bristles should be employed while brushing and short circular strokes performed while brushing.
Misaligned teeth – Misalignment can cause uneven force pressure while chewing distributing the brunt to gum tissue or bone. Gum recession occurs as a result. Misalignment in one’s teeth can be corrected using orthodontic braces. Talk to your dentist if you feel you require them.
Clenching one’s teeth and grinding can also put excessive force on the gum tissue causing degenerative changes. Mouthguards are available to prevent patients from grinding their jaws while sleeping.
Along with excess brushing, too little brushing can also cause gum recession. Not brushing your teeth as daily recommendations state can cause plaque build-up and the hardening of this plaque eventually disrupting one’s gum line.
Gum recession treatment.
Treatment follows the extent of damage done to a patient’s gums and teeth. For mild cases, the dentist can perform a deep cleaning, to remove plaque and tartar that has formed in pockets between the gums and adjacent teeth. For patients with a more progressed disease, surgical procedures are available too. The surgeries include; Open flap scaling, regeneration procedures using a graft or tissue-simulating protein, gum tissue graft, etc. Discuss with your dentist on the best option for your treatment.
Overall, gum recession can be corrected in its early stages but once it progresses it becomes more difficult to treat. Therefore, regular appointments with your dentist should be made to allow for a full assessment of your oral health to be performed.