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What Causes Receding Gums?

home Blog What Causes Receding Gums?

You’ve probably heard it a thousand times before, and you may hear it another thousand times after this.  You’ve heard it from your parents, and from us here at The Bondi Dentists.

What, you ask?

Soft-bristled brushes are the way to go.  And there’s a really good reason for this.  The gums are delicate.  When you brush too hard, especially with a hard-bristled brush, you run the risk of damaging the gums and contributing to gum recession.  Your teeth need a light, leisurely massage that angles into the gumline.  Two minutes each time, gentle and patient.

However, you might find that, even when you brush carefully and softly, your gums have begun to recede.  The challenge is that receding gums can be caused by a number of different sources.  The good news is that once your dentist has identified the cause of your receding gums, they can best choose the treatment that will eliminate the problem and restore your healthy smile.

Here’s an overview on receding gums from The Bondi Dentists:

Gum Recession: What is it?

Gum recession is when the gums begin to pull away from the teeth and jawbone.  When the gums recede severely, the root surface of the tooth can be exposed.  This can lead to pain and sensitivity, as well as a host of other issues.  The enamel crown of the tooth is much stronger than the tooth root, and an exposed tooth root is prone to decay and wear from normal brushing.  The risk of decay and sensitivity increase as the gums recede further, and, if left unattended, the tooth itself can become unstable.

Gum Recession: What causes it?

Gum recession is a common problem, and we often see patients suffering from it.  Although tooth brushing technique is the first thing to look into when you notice receding gums, there are a number of other factors which can contribute to this condition.  But, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so let’s look into some of the causes, courtesy of The Bondi Dentists:

Trauma: Physical pressure on the teeth over time can traumatise your gums and cause them to recede.  This can happen due to an improper alignment of your teeth, a bad bite or malocclusion.  When your teeth are poorly aligned, they can press together, causing friction and damaging the teeth.  This can also cause the teeth to shift and pull away from the gums.  Trauma can also be caused by ill-fitting partials or dentures.  Your dentist will often recommend an aligner therapy to bring your teeth back into proper alignment.

Clenching or grinding: Many people have a habit of clenching their teeth together or grinding them against one another at night.  This can damage the teeth and surrounding tissues, eventually causing permanent recession.

Tobacco: Smoking is not good for your teeth and gums.  In fact, tobacco in any form is not good for your mouth.  Tobacco smoke can cause the gums to thin and weaken over time, while smokeless tobacco use can damage the gums and cause them to recede in the area where it is placed in the mouth.

Genetics: The truth is that no matter how careful we are, our genetics predispose us towards certain conditions.  If your parents or family have had problems with their teeth and gums, it’s important to inform your dentists so that they can watch for potential issues. The thickness of gum tissue, called biotype, varies from person to person. Those with thinner gum tissues are more likely to suffer from gum recession through external factors listed above.

Periodontal disease: Periodontal disease is a form of gum disease that attacks gum tissue and can cause the gums to recede severely, even far enough to expose the vulnerable roots of the teeth.  Gums with periodontal disease will look red and inflamed, and feel swollen and tender.  They will often leave a bad taste in the mouth as well.

When you take care of your gums, your gums will take care of you. Remember to have regular dental visits, early detection and management of gum recession means better chances of stopping further damage and tackling the underlying cause.  If it’s time to have checkup or if you have any question, feel free to contact us.  At The Bondi Dentists, we know teeth and we know teeth matter.