February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. The National Children’s Dental Health Month is a…
Everyone is aware that brushing is important for the health of their teeth, but many people forget about the health of their gums. Caring for you gums is just as important as caring for your teeth. A common problem, and one that can be an indicator of more severe problems, is receding gums.
Gum recession is when the edge of the tissue surrounding the teeth pulls back from the teeth and wears away, exposing more of the tooth, or, eventually, the tooth’s root. This is a sure sign of gum disease. Gum recession is hard on the teeth as well. Gaps form between the teeth and gum line, which act as havens for bacteria. This can cause severe damage to the teeth and even jaw if not treated.
Receding gums are common, but sometimes hard to catch. The first sign of gum recession is usually sensitive teeth. Another sign could be that one of your teeth looks a bit longer than usual. Bacteria can eat away at gums, so infrequent brushing and flossing can cause gums ro recede. On the other hand, brushing your teeth too hard can cause gums to wear away and also destroy your enamel. Tooth grinding and jaw clenching puts pressure on teeth and gums, and can cause recession.
Crooked teeth or a misaligned bite can also cause undue stress on the teeth and gums. Oral piercings can sometimes wear gum tissue away by constantly rubbing or irritating oral tissue. Using tobacco products also increases plaque that is damaging to gums. Even things like hormone fluctuations, especially in women, can make gums susceptible to recession, and some people are just genetically more likely to develop gum disease. No matter how well you care for your teeth, you should visit the dentist regularly.
Mild gum recession may be treated by your dentist by deep cleaning the affected area. Sometimes antibiotics can be prescribed to get rid of any remaining harmful bacteria. If the condition is severe enough, gum surgery may be required to repair the damage. An oral surgeon may do a “pocket depth reduction” which eradicates bacteria from the gum tissue, or a “regeneration” or “soft tissue graft” if your teeth and gums have been very damaged. In order to avoid these complications, remember to pay attention to your gums and visit your dentist frequently.