The pink tissue that surrounds and supports your teeth is called the gums. In the mouth, gums act as a seal to prevent food from settling in between the teeth. They prevent bacteria from decaying the area in between the teeth and even further down into the jawbone. Healthy gum tissue is firm and covers the root of each tooth and does not bleed when brushed, poked, or prodded.
When the gum recedes, the tissue that surrounds each tooth wears away and exposes more of the tooth including the tooth’s root. The spaces at the gumline and in between the teeth open allowing food to get trapped, making the teeth sensitive to cold, sugar, and brushing.
Gum recession can also change how your teeth look.
Why Do Gums Recede?
Gum recession is a common dental problem. Most people don't know they have gum recession because it occurs gradually. The first sign of gum recession is usually tooth sensitivity, or you may notice a tooth looks longer than normal.
What causes my gums to recede?
- Periodontal diseases - Gum disease is the main cause of gum recession.
- Your genetic predisposition for thin gum tissue.
- Aggressive teeth brushing with hard toothbrush bristles.
- Inadequate hygiene - Plaque turns into calculus which is a hard substance that builds your teeth. Calculus leads to gum recession and can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning.
- Clenching and grinding of teeth.
- Fluctuations in hormones can make gums more sensitive and more vulnerable to gum recession.
How Can I Prevent Gum Recession?
The best way to prevent gum recession is to take good care of your mouth. Visit the dentist and brushing and flossing your teeth every day are not optional. If you have gum recession, your dentist may want to see you more often. In addition, you can:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and ask your dentist to show you the proper way to brush your teeth.
- Use a Night Grinding Guard.
- Use Toothpaste for sensitive teeth
- Quit smoking if you smoke.
- Eat a well balanced and healthy diet.
- Monitor changes that may occur in your mouth.
So, if you are wondering why the hygienist is poking and prodding at your gums, please know the reason is all about protecting your teeth. Gum disease leads to tooth loss, so take care your gums by flossing daily and brushing your teeth. Just as you learned in your formative years. Gum recession is irreversible. It is important to do whatever you can to keep them healthy.