Gum Recession: What is the Cause and How Can We Prevent it?

One common oral health issue that might not get as much attention as it should is gum recession. It involves the gum tissue gradually pulling away from your teeth, exposing more of the tooth or its root. 

Gum recession can cause sensitivity, an increased risk for decay, and aesthetic concerns. Understanding why this condition occurs and how to prevent it can play a crucial role in maintaining dental health and keeping your smile at its best. 

What is gum recession? 

Gum recession is a slow process that occurs when the gum tissue’s edge bordering the teeth wears out or pulls back. This gradual exposure of more of the tooth or the tooth’s root can lead to potential damage and aesthetic issues.

The alarming aspect is that it often goes unnoticed until significant exposure has occurred, usually accompanied by sensitivity or discomfort. This highlights the importance of frequent dental check-ups and vigilance in maintaining oral health

What causes gum recession? 

There are various reasons for gum recession, such as: 

  • Periodontal Diseases: These are infections caused by bacteria that attack the gum tissue and the supporting bone that holds your teeth in place. Gum disease is one of the leading causes of gum recession.  
  • Aggressive Tooth Brushing: If you brush your teeth too vigorously or with improper technique, this can erode tooth enamel and lead to the receding of your gums 
  • Insufficient Dental Care: If you don’t brush, floss, and rinse with antibacterial mouthwash enough, you can cause gum recession and make it easy for plaque to turn into tartar—a hard substance that builds on and between teeth.
  • Tobacco Products: Regular use of tobacco can lead to a sticky plaque on your teeth, which is tricky to remove and can cause gum recession. 
  • Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations in women during stages such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can escalate gum sensitivity and susceptibility to gum recession. 
  • Genetics: Some people may be more prone to gum disease, no matter how well they look after their teeth. 

How is it prevented and/or treated?

Preventing gum recession starts with understanding its causes and addressing them directly. Here’s how you can protect your gums: 

  • Proper Oral Hygiene: This is your first line of defence. Brush and floss daily, but do so gently. 
  • Regular Dental Check-ups: Regular visits to Smith and Van Lierop Dentistry allow us to monitor your gum health, remove tartar build-up, and provide guidance tailored to your specific oral health needs.
  • Quit Smoking: Giving up tobacco will enhance your overall oral health and limit your risk of many dental issues.
  • Manage Hormonal Changes: Women should pay extra attention to their gum health during periods of significant hormonal changes and discuss preventive strategies with their dentist. 

How can Smith & Van Lierop Dentistry help with gum recession?

At Smith and Van Lierop Dentistry, we understand the complexities of gum health. We offer a range of treatments, from scaling and root planing (a deep cleaning method that removes tartar buildup and smoothens the root surfaces) to more advanced procedures such as gum grafting if necessary. We are committed to personalised care to ensure your gums are healthy and your smile is beautiful. 

Gum recession is not just a cosmetic issue; it’s a prevalent health concern that can significantly affect your dental and overall well-being. Becoming aware of the causes and taking proactive steps towards prevention can protect your gum health. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Smith and Van Lierop Dentistry. Together, we’ll keep your smile healthy and vibrant for years to come.