Receding gum lines are a fact of life for some people. This can be caused by a variety of different factors, including thumb sucking in childhood or adult teeth grinding. For many people, this is an undesirable condition—not only because it looks unsightly but also because it affects oral hygiene. In this ultimate guide, you will learn everything you need to know about this condition.
What are receding gums?
It is also known as recession alveolar mucosa. The condition is characterized by a receding or retreating gum line, which is the first sign of the condition in many people. The gum line recedes because of loss of bone in the region and loss of supporting tissues. The condition may be mild or severe and may vary among individuals, depending on their age, health status, and other factors such as smoking and drinking habits.
It can cause problems with chewing food properly, such as swallowing large pieces of food or using chewing gum incorrectly. It can also lead to tooth decay if left untreated because food gets stuck in between the teeth when you eat it.
What causes it?
There are a variety of reasons why a patient may experience receding gums, some more serious than others. It is usually caused by a combination of certain factors, such as:
Brushing and flossing too vigorously
Brushing too hard can cause receding gums. If you have to use a heavy hand when brushing, that may be a sign that you need to look into a different type of toothbrush. A soft-bristled brush is best for people with sensitive gums or receding gum lines.
Gum disease is the most common cause of receding gums. Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria in your mouth affect the attachment of your teeth to their supporting bone. If this attachment is lost, your teeth will become loose and may eventually fall out. Gum disease can also make it difficult for you to clean between your teeth effectively when you are brushing or flossing.
Hormonal changes can be a major cause of receding gums. The most common cause of gum recession is pregnancy. During the 9 months, your body goes through many changes, including hormonal fluctuations that affect your teeth and gums. When you are pregnant, you are more likely to have poor oral hygiene habits and an increased risk of plaque buildup because you are more prone to fatigue and stress. Increased levels of estrogen and progesterone can also cause gum recession during pregnancy.
Pregnancy isn’t the only time when hormones can wreak havoc on your gum health. Birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can also increase your risk of gum recession by changing estrogen levels in your body. If you use birth control pills or HRT therapy, talk to your doctor about ways to prevent gum recession or treat it once it starts happening.
Tooth grinding or clenching
If you grind your teeth at night (bruxism), you may wear down your enamel and expose pulp tissue. The pulp is a soft material inside the tooth that contains blood vessels and nerves. When exposed, the nerve endings can cause pain and sensitivity in the tooth, which will require receding gums treatment.
People who don’t get enough vitamins and minerals in their diet are more likely to have this condition than those who eat well-balanced meals every day. The disease can also be caused by anemia (low red blood cell count), which affects oxygen delivery throughout the body — including the mouth.
Side effects from medications
Steroids, birth control pills, and other medications can cause your gums to recede. If you take these medications, talk to your doctor about adding them to your dental care routine so that your dentist from Southland Dental Care can monitor any side effects and provide receding gums treatment.
Trauma to the mouth
Trauma to the mouth can also cause this condition because it causes inflammation in the mouth. When your gum tissue becomes inflamed, it can form a pocket between the tooth and gum that leads to recession. A minor trauma, like biting down on a piece of food too hard or having a toothbrush caught on your gum tissue, can cause this inflammation or even tooth loss hence the need for receding gums treatment.
Poor oral hygiene habits
Some people don’t brush their teeth as often as they should or floss regularly — which makes their gums more susceptible to disease and infection than those who do brush their teeth regularly. Unhealthy eating habits can also make it harder for you to kee