Have you looked at your teeth in the mirror and noticed your gums are looking different? Do they look like they’re wearing away? Your gums could be receding, which is when they begin to pull away from your teeth. Let’s talk about what to do about receding gums and what causes it.
What Causes Gum Recession?
Aggressive Brushing and Flossing
There are a few factors that can cause your gums to recede. Firstly, it is very common that aggressive brushing and flossing are the problem. No one wants cavities, so we should brush, brush, brush and floss like crazy right? Not exactly, because you want to be thorough but still gentle. Aggressive oral hygiene is irritating to your gums, which the tissues won’t tolerate. Thus, they will pull away from the irritant. So, how do you gently brush and floss? To brush gently, always use a soft-bristled toothbrush and circular motions. When flossing, hug the floss against your teeth, then move it up and down while avoiding a see-saw motion.
Secondly, infection is another cause of gum recession. When you have infections in your gums, called gingivitis and periodontitis, you begin to lose the support around your teeth. Gingivitis is when the amount of bacteria that naturally lives in your mouth becomes too great and infects your gums. If this goes unchecked, then the bacteria will travel further down into the bone around your teeth causing periodontitis. As this occurs it causes the unhealthy gum tissues and supporting bone to pull away from your teeth.
Genetics and Age
Lastly, good old genetics and age can be underlying factors. If the members of your family tend to have problems with gum recession, then chances are you will too. A good example of this is diabetes, because not only can it be genetic and run in families, it also makes you prone to dental problems. In addition, the older you are, the more natural wear you will have on your gums. Thus, making you more likely to have some gum recession. Even though you can’t change either of these things, you can at least try to slow the process down.
Why is Gum Recession A Problem?
Gum recession is not something you want, because it can cause a few problems. When you lose gum tissue, the roots of your teeth become exposed. Your roots are naturally designed to stay covered up and protected. Since the roots do not have protective enamel over them, they are prone to cavities and sensitivity when they become uncovered. Additionally, when your gums don’t fill the spaces between your teeth as they should, more food and bacteria get trapped there. Which also makes your teeth prone to cavities and sensitivity from the acids this produces.
As mentioned, your teeth have bone and gum tissue to support them. So, losing either of these means weakening their foundation. If this progresses far enough, your teeth will become loose. When your teeth become mobile, or loose, the constant wiggling speeds up the progression of bone loss and eventually resulting in tooth loss. This can be quite a downward spiral once it begins.
How Can You Stop Gum Recession?
At this point, you may be wondering “Do gums grow back?”. While you can’t regrow gums, you can slow or stop the recession from progressing further. Let’s talk about how to fix receding gums.
People today are always looking for a more natural approach to their health. As oral health is no exception, many people turn to these:
- Saltwater rinses.
- Oil pulling.
- Green tea.
- Aloe vera.
However, the best natural remedy is proper brushing and flossing. When food sits around your teeth and gums, it feeds the bacteria that naturally live in your mouth. The combination of bacteria and food produces a lot of acids that irritate the gums and weaken the tooth structure. So, you need to remove them to prevent infections and cavities. As mentioned earlier, do this gently by always using a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoid a hard scrubbing pressure.
When considering your options, you must consult with a dental professional to help you choose what is best for your situation. Dr. Delaram Hanookai at Southland Dental Care in Los Angeles, California is a great resource to guide you in this time. She will examine your teeth and help you decide whether a natural remedy o