Gum recession is the gradual process of gums that have pulled away or receded from the tooth. It can take years before the gum recession is even noticeable. Some of the noticeable symptoms of gum recession are “long teeth”. As the gums recede downward because of periodontal disease, there is a visual lengthening of the tooth as more and more of the root is exposed. The exposed root is another symptom that is usually accompanied by sensitivity. Exposed roots can become very sensitive and uncomfortable. If you have exposed roots it is either a result of gum disease in your mouth or overly aggressive tooth brushing.
Another symptom is ominously loose teeth. If gum disease is left unchecked it will continue to create deeper and deeper pockets in the gums around the teeth. When the gums recede down the tooth, and the sensitive root of the tooth becomes exposed, small spaces or pockets are created where plaque can collect around the tooth. This in turn leads to further recession of the gums. If this situation is left untreated it can cause bone loss and eventual tooth loss.
Causes of Gum Disease
There are many contributing factors to gum disease. Genetics and aging can play a role in receding gums, which means that not all gum recession is avoidable. The good news is that most of the contributing factors of gum recession can be controlled. These may include poor dental hygiene, brushing too hard or misaligned teeth.
It is possible to brush your teeth too much, or rather, too hard. Our gums are sensitive tissues and are not able to withstand the assault of hard-bristled toothbrushes, or aggressive brushing. You should always use only soft-bristled toothbrushes. When brushing, you should gently brush and massage in circular motions. Avoid scrubbing back and forth as this will cut and damage delicate gum tissues. The same concept applies to flossing. You should definitely floss everyday, but be gentle with the gums while doing it.
Another factor in gum recession can be bruxism, which is chronic tooth grinding. The forces from grinding and clenching your teeth put too much pressure on the teeth and gums and can cause the gums to recede. It can be particularly hard to stop grinding your teeth, especially if you are doing it while sleeping. In this case you should consult with the dentist and use a custom made night guard to minimize the damage.
Poor oral hygiene plays a big role in gum disease and recession. If plaque is not removed from the teeth regularly it will build up and harden into what is called tartar. This can only be removed by dental professionals. The longer you go without dental cleanings, the more tartar will build up around the teeth, putting you at a greater risk of gum disease.
How to Treat Gum Disease
The beginning stages of gum disease is called gingivitis. This is when you have swollen gum tissues that are tender and bleed easily. You can combat gingivitis by establishing healthy brushing and flossing habits and seeking regular dental care. If gingivitis is left untreated it advances into periodontal disease. This is when the gums start pulling away from the teeth creating pockets and more tartar accumulates on the teeth. Eventually the integrity of the jaw bone is compromised. At this point professional dental treatment is necessary. You cannot reverse this problem by yourself.
If you are aware of receding gums, it is important to see your Primary Dental dentist in Wheat Ridge and address the reason behind the gum recession. And then to take the appropriate actions to stop it in its tracks.