Author: Lizzie Smith – blog last updated on Thursday 9th November 2023
Healthy gums are pink in colour and fit tightly against your teeth. However, certain things can cause the gums to recede. This is known as gingival recession.
Receding gums is a very gradual process that you may initially overlook. It’s only at a later stage that the tooth necks become exposed, making your teeth more sensitive. The exposed tooth necks are also more susceptible to caries (cavities) due to the lack of protection by the tooth enamel.
In this article, we’ll look at the symptoms and causes of receding gums, and what you can do to prevent and remedy it.
Symptoms of receding gums
Although gum recession occurs gradually, it’s good to keep an eye on it. The sooner you notice the signs, the better you can control the situation because gums don’t grow back in the places where they recede!
- The most characteristic symptom is that your teeth appear longer.
- In addition, gums can recede because they’re inflamed. The symptoms include the gums becoming red, and swelling and bleeding after brushing your teeth.
- Sensitive teeth. As the gums continue to recede, the roots of your teeth are no longer protected by tooth enamel. Exposed roots can be extremely sensitive to cold, hot, sweet and sour drinks and foods.
You should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as you notice these symptoms. During your regular check-up, they’ll also notice receding gums… probably before you do.
Causes of receding gums
- Inflamed gums are usually caused by plaque, particularly the bacteria in it. Plaque isn’t only on the surfaces of your teeth; it also sticks to the border between teeth and gums. Plaque that hasn’t been removed hardens into porous tartar, in which even more plaque can remain stuck. This eventually grows under the gums and causes inflammation that eats away at the gums.
- Brushing too hard damages the gums, causing them to recede gradually. This could be due to using too much force when brushing your teeth or using a toothbrush with bristles that are too hard.
- An unhealthy diet and other unhealthy habits, such as smoking and too much alcohol, seriously affect the health of the gums. As a result, the gums no longer fit tightly to the teeth and withdraw.
- Finally, certain diseases, genetic predisposition and hormonal changes can play a role, as can teeth grinding or a misaligned bite.
How to prevent receding gums
As you can see, the causes of gum recession are diverse. However, to a certain extent, you can control it.
1. Good daily oral hygiene
Brush your teeth twice daily for 2 minutes, But brushing on its own isn’t enough.
Not all toothpaste respects the natural balance of oral flora, which is crucial for healthy gums. Some contain aggressive and acidifying ingredients.
You can better brush your teeth with the mouth-friendly toothpaste RyttPro Toothpaste Magic Mint. This contains the powerful formula OZ-3X, a combination of cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), zinc and stabilised chlorine dioxide. Together, they effectively combat harmful bacteria without disrupting the oral flora.
Flossing, brushing and rinsing your mouth are also part of daily oral hygiene. In addition, how you brush is vital if you want to prevent gum recession. To remove plaque from the border between teeth and gums, place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth. Don’t put too much force on it, and don’t use a hard toothbrush.
If necessary, ask your dentist or dental hygienist for brushing instructions.
2. Regularly remove tartar
It’s recommended you have your teeth cleaned twice a year, so your dentist or dental hygienist can remove the tartar that’s built up over time from your teeth. However, you can remove visible (supra-gingival) tartar yourself with the right products.
3. Regular check-ups at the dentist
Even if you can remove the visible tartar yourself, periodic checks help to detect receding gums in time, so they don’t continue to progress.
4. Lifestyle-related measures
Maintain a healthy diet and, if necessary, stop smoking and excessive alcohol use. If you can’t resolve this yourself, ask your doctor for help.
Following these steps can prevent receding gums as much as possible. This limits the chance you’ll need gum treatment.
Treatments for receding gums
Which treatment you need depends upon how much the gums have receded. In the first phase, a dental cleaning will be sufficient, after which you can prevent recurrence with the above tips.
Exposed tooth necks can also be filled, extending the tooth. This protects the root, which reduces the tooth’s sensitivity and the risk of caries in this area.
In cases of severe gum recession, surgical procedures are also performed, such as flap surgery or a restorative gum transplant.
In any case, it’s better to avoid receding gums to prevent it from worsening. If in doubt, visit your dentist. They can tackle the first signs and advise you on correct oral hygiene and brushing techniques. This way, you can prevent worsening.
Oral Health Foundation: Gum disease
British Dental Journal: Time to take gum disease seriously