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Understanding and Treating Receding Gums: Causes and Solutions

December 15, 2014

How To Save Your Gums

Receding gums can not only be painful, but they can affect your smile, and can eventually lead to tooth loss. When we study what causes gums to recede we find that sometimes it's our own behavior that's causing the issue. Ouch. Here's what we found.


For me it was brushing too hard with a hard toothbrush. I started to feel that 'notch' between root and the crown as the gums receded away from the gum line. The exposed root started to hurt and kind of itch. Sometimes it even felt infected. I went to Dr. Reese who treated me with ozone therapy and then I started oil pulling with coconut oil."

Sometimes in the act of trying to keep our teeth clean we end up damaging our gums unintentionally. Thankfully there's some things we can do to stop the behavior that's causing gums to recede from bad brushing habits:

  • Use your non-dominant hand - your dominant hand can be unintentionally pushing too hard
  • Use a child's toothbrush instead of an adult toothbrush - it's usually smaller and softer
  • Brush in circles instead of side to side near your gums - this is easier on your gums


My parents have a history of gum disease so I knew I had to take extra care to not eat too many sugary drinks and be sure to floss and stuff, but you know, I didn't do that. I used to drink at least a 32 oz. cup of soda every morning on the way to work and then not brush my teeth until the evening. Eventually my gums pulled away and started hurting."

Gum disease is the main cause of gum recession and studies show that 30% of the population may be predisposed to gum disease, regardless of how well they care for their teeth. Fortunately there are treatments for this:

  • Pocket reduction surgery to remove tarter from under the gums  - gums are lifted back and the tarter is removed
  • Soft tissue grafts - if gums have receded too far, tissue can be taken from other areas and grafted into your gums
  • Guided tissue regeneration - utilizes barrier membranes to direct the growth of new bone and gingival tissue

No matter how bad your gums are now, you still have options. Don't be afraid to have a dentist look at your gums to see what sort of treatments can help you prevent further recession or to help repair the gums that have already receded.