Healthy gums fit tightly to the visible part or crown of the teeth. Gum recession occurs when the underlying roots are exposed.
While gum recession is not naturally reversible on its own, some treatments can restore the gum tissue around the teeth.
In this article, we will examine various treatments for gum recession and provide important tips on how to slow or stop its progression.
Gum recession is when the gums pull back from the teeth, exposing more of each tooth and its roots. Dentists call this gum recession, periodontal disease. Other types of periodontal disease include gingivitis and periodontitis.
What Causes Gum Recession?
Several different causes can cause recession of the gums, including the following.
.Teeth grinding and clenching
Periodontium is the supporting structure surrounding each tooth, including;
.Cementum (hard tissue that allows the periodontal ligament to adhere to the tooth.
.Periodontal disease or gum disease refers to infection and inflammation of the gums and upper structures of the mouth. This inflammation is caused by the buildup of bacterial deposits called plaque.
.Factors that can cause or contribute to periodontal disease include:
.Oral hygiene issues
.Damaged or faulty fillings
.Bridges or partial dentures that no longer fit
.Hormonal changes due to pregnancy or oral contraceptives
.Drugs that cause dry mouth
.Specific disorders such as Down syndrome and Crohn’s disease
.Smoking or use of any tobacco product
Periodontal disease has two stages. First, gingivitis causes gingival redness and swelling, and if left untreated, there may be bleeding that can lead to periodontitis.
During periodontitis, the next stage of periodontal disease, there are a total of four stages of severity.
In periodontitis, the gum and connective tissues are retracted and a pocket is formed between the tooth and the gum that can collect bacteria. Over time, the bacteria cause more inflammation.
If the gums recede too much, it causes bone loss that can cause teeth to loosen or fall out.
Hard or Improper Brushing
Regular brushing is essential to maintaining good oral hygiene. However, using an incorrect brushing technique can contribute to receding gums.
The gingival margin is the part of the gum that comes into contact with the crown of the tooth. Brushing incorrectly or too hard can damage this area and trigger gingivitis and recession. Brushing factors that can trigger gum recession include:
.Applying too much pressure
.Using a hard or medium soft toothbrush
.Brushing the teeth in a wide, horizontal motion
.Teeth grinding and clenching
Teeth Grinding and Clenching
Some people grind their upper and lower teeth while they sleep. The grinding action puts intense pressure on the gums, which can cause the gums to recede over time.
Teeth grinding can also cause teeth to loosen in their sockets. Additionally, grinding creates deep pockets between the tooth and gum where bacteria can collect. These bacteria trigger gingivitis and can make gum recession worse.
A literature review found that the body’s natural aging process causes gums to recede. Over the years, alveolar bone and soft tissue are damaged by repeated exposure to bacteria and other agents.
Continuing direct trauma to the gum tissue can cause the gums to recede in that area. Examples of such injuries include:
.During a fall or other accident
.During dental procedures
.Wearing a partial denture that does not fit
.Practice contact sports
According to experts, there is a link between smoking and gum recession. In addition, experts found that smokers are twice as likely to have receding gums than nonsmokers.
Treatment for gingival recession depends on the underlying cause, which may or may not require surgery.
Proper dental care
When traumatic brushing practices cause reassessment of proper dental care is the first step in treatment. The care plan may include:
.Changing toothbrushes regularly: An effective treatment is a soft, ultra-soft or electric toothbrush with a force detector.
.Trying a different toothpaste: Avoiding abrasive toothpastes can help prevent further gum recession. A person may also consider using a paste for sensitive teeth.
.Maintaining regular dental cleanings and examinations with the dentist: Visiting the dentist at least twice a year for checkups and cleanings can help treat gingival recession.
Scaling and root planing
Scaling and root planing are some of the first treatments a dentist may recommend for gingival recession. These procedures remove plaque and tartar below the gumline that regular brushing can’t reach.
Root planning removes plaque and tartar especially from tooth roots. Next, the dentist will use special tools to soften the roots, which will help reattach the gums to the tooth.
Gum graft surgery
The dentist may consider gum graft surgery if the person’s gums are severely receding. During gum graft surgery, a surgeon takes a small piece of gum tissue from another part of the mouth and uses it to cover the exposed tooth roots.
Gum graft surgery helps prevent bone loss and further retraction of the gums. It can also protect previously exposed tooth roots from decay.
The following tips can help slow or stop the progression of gum recession:
Practice good oral hygiene
.Using fluoride toothpaste
.Gently brushing the teeth and along the gumline twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush
.Using an antiseptic or fluoride mouthwash to reduce bacteria and remove debris
.Choosing a toothbrush size and shape that allows access to all parts of the mouth
.Changing the toothbrush at least every 2-4 months
.Attending regular dental appointments
Use the right brushing technique
.Adopting the right brushing technique can help prevent receding gums.
.Place the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to the gums
.Using light pressure, brush the toothbrush back and forth in small, firm movements.
.Brush the outer and inner surfaces of the teeth as well as the chewing surfaces
.Hold the toothbrush upright while cleaning the inner surfaces of the front teeth.
.Brush your teeth for 2 minutes in total
.People may also ask their dentist for tips on modifying this technique to manage gingival recessions.
Use mouth guard
.A mouth guard or splint can help prevent gum recession from nighttime teeth grinding. Mouth guards create even pressure across the jaw and act as a physical barrier to separate the upper and lower teeth.
.Mouth guards are available from most pharmacies. The dentist can also make a customized mouthpiece that will provide a better fit.
Replace unsuitable dentures
.Partial dentures that once fit well may become incompatible with the mouth over time. This can occur for a variety of reasons, including;
.Bone and gingival protrusions that shrink over time
.Jaw alignment differences
.General wear and tear of partial dentures
.Improper partial dentures can irritate the gums, causing them to recede around healthy teeth.
Visit your dentist regularly
.It is vital to attend regular dental checkups to detect the early stages of gum recession.
.Checkups also enable the dentist to identify and replace faulty fillings or poorly fitting partial dentures that may contribute to gingival recession.