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What Causes Receding Gums?

May 22, 2014

Receding gums is a common but potentially dangerous dental problem. One must know what causes receding gums so they can understand how dangerous the condition can be and prevent it from happening. It is also easily treatable if detected early – simply changing dental habits may stop the condition from becoming worse.

Most people don't realize they have receding gums because it occurs gradually. One usually notices that his or her teeth have become sensitive and they can feel a notch (indentation or incision) near the gum line. These are usually the early signs of receding gums.

Receding gums, also known as gum recession, is the process in which the margin of the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth wears away, or pulls back, exposing more of the tooth, or the tooth's root. When gum recession occurs, "pockets," or gaps, form between the teeth and gum line, making it easy for disease-causing bacteria to build up. A receding gum line can eventually lead to lost teeth over time if it isn’t stopped or treated.

What causes receding gums?

  • Periodontal disease - Gum disease is the main cause of gum recession.
  • Genetics and Gender - Studies show that 30% of the population may be predisposed to gum disease, regardless of how well they care for their teeth. Fluctuations in female hormone levels, during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause for example, can make gums more sensitive and more vulnerable to gum recession.
  • Aggressive tooth brushing and incorrect dental care habits - This can cause the enamel on your teeth to wear away and your gums to recede. Using hard-bristled toothbrushes can also hurt your gums.
  • Inadequate brushing and flossing makes it easy for plaque to turn into (tartar) — a hard substance that can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning — and when this builds up on and in between your teeth, it causes gum recession.
  • Smoking - Smokers are more likely to have sticky plaque on their teeth that is difficult to remove, which can cause gum recession.
  • Teeth grinding - Bruxism can put too much force on the teeth, causing gums to recede.
  • Crooked teeth or a bad bite - Malocclusions put too much (wrong) force on the gums and bone, allowing gums to recede.

Receding gums can be treated

Gum recession is not something you want to ignore. If you think your gums are receding, make an appointment with your Dr. Reese. There are treatments that can repair the gum and prevent further damage.

Dr. Reese has been utilizing a Waterlaase MD laser for tooth preparation and gingival treatments. This laser has a variety of extremely thin tips that can deliver laser energy into the diseased sulcus to disinfect the area of gum disease, remove smaller amounts of the diseased gum tissue, provide an atmosphere of improved healing, and offer a much less invasive and less painful recovery period. The diseased root surface is also treated by the laser energy to allow regeneration of the gum connective tissue to re-grow up the root surface which has been the ‘last frontier’ of regenerative periodontal therapy. These procedures are especially indicated in smokers who heal less favorably, and suffer more from gum disease than non-smokers.

If you are in the Indianapolis or Greenwood, Indiana area, call 317-882-0228 so you can schedule an appointment today!