What is Causing My Gums to Recede?

woman at dentist smiling

Receding gums becomes a health concern when the teeth' roots become exposed, leaving them at risk of infection, tooth decay, and loss. If gum recession is caught at an early stage, it can be reversed or stopped. In severe cases, patients may experience symptoms, such as pain, tooth sensitivity, and swollen gums. Receding gums is not an uncommon dental condition, but people often do not realize they have an issue until they are in a late stage. As a highly qualified and skilled dentist, Dr. Michaela Tozzi of Michaela Tozzi, DMD in Las Vegas, NV is pleased to provide the following information on receding gums, why this oral condition occurs, and how to best treat it.

What is gum recession?

The gums, or gingivae, surround the teeth and provide a seal around each of them. Unlike the soft tissue lining of the cheeks and lips, our dental gums are dense and tightly bound to the underlying tooth structure, which helps resist the friction of food passing over them. Gingival tissue has a good supply of blood vessels beneath the mucous membrane surface. Healthy gums should be pink and be firmly attached to the jawbone to cover each tooth up to the neck. They should also be intact to cover the roots of the teeth and protect them. Gum recession is when there has been a loss of gingival tissue, exposing the teeth' roots to plaque and bacteria, both of which can lead to tooth decay.

What causes your gums to recede?

There are several reasons why gums may start to recede, including:

1. Genetics

Some men and women are more susceptible to gum recession, regardless of if they practice proper oral hygiene, because of inherited factors. These factors include gum thickness and the position of the teeth.

2. Poor oral hygiene

Inadequate flossing, brushing, and rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash can allow plaque and tartar buildup to occur on and between teeth. This harmful buildup can only be removed at a routine dental cleaning and is a necessary dental procedure every Las Vegas, NV patient should do every six months. If plaque and tartar buildup is left untreated, gum recession can occur.

3. Aggressive brushing

Patients who aggressively brush their teeth can cause tooth enamel to wear away, leading to receding gums.

4. Hormonal changes

Fluctuations in hormones, like during pregnancy, menopause, or even puberty, can cause gum tissue changes. It can make gums more sensitive and more likely to recede or develop gum disease.

5. Gum or periodontal disease

Your gums are the foundation. They protect your teeth, roots and keep them in place. Bacterial gum infection destroys bone and gum tissue that supports the teeth — one of the leading causes of gum recession.

6. Poor bite alignment

Poorly-aligned bites or crooked teeth can cause deteriorating gums. When chewing your food and your teeth don't align properly, it can cause too much force on the gumline. The result over time is the gum tissue starts to recede.

7. Chewing tobacco or smoking

Both of these habits, for obvious reasons, can cause damage to the gumline area with the buildup of sticky substances left behind.

8. Age

Over time, the gum tissue can begin to recede due to years of poor oral care, infrequent dental visits, or normal wear and tear with eating.

9. Grinding or clenching teeth

Teeth and gums begin to break down with the pressure of clenching or grinding, leading to gum recession over time.

How to prevent gum recession

Even though receding gums won't grow back, there are things Las Vegas, NV patients can do to slow down the process. Start by contacting Michaela Tozzi, DMD, and making an appointment with Dr. Tozzi. She will measure how far your gums have receded to determine the right next steps. If you have bacteria in the pockets or small spaces created by receding gums, she will likely suggest a deep-cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing involve removing tartar and plaque buildup from your teeth and underneath your gumline. To maintain the results, you will need regular dental cleanings every six months. On top of seeing Dr. Tozzi regularly for professional dental cleanings, other ways to slow down receding gums are:

  • Gently brushing, twice a day, with a soft-bristled toothbrush or electric toothbrush
  • Flossing regularly
  • Using a mouth rinse with fluoride

Dr. Michaela Tozzi is a skilled, experienced dentist who can diagnose and treat gum recession to get your oral health back on track. By protecting your gums, you are protecting your teeth and smile. If you are experiencing receding gums and live in the Las Vegas, NV area, contact Michaela Tozzi, DMD, and schedule a consultation today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.