A healthy smile is fundamental in ensuring a happier life. Being such a delicate system, the smile is prone to a plethora of complications if a proper oral care regimen isn’t fully adopted by a patient. One of these common mishaps which many patients frequently may develop is gum recession.

Gum recession is signaled by the gumline wearing away or pulling back from its intended position, dangerously exposing sensitive areas of the teeth to bacteria. A gradual process, gum recession places the integrity of the smile more and more at risk with each passing day, ranging in symptoms such as sensitivity, pain, bleeding, bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, loose teeth, and much more!

The Leading Causes

This process doesn’t occur overnight, as receding gums are usually triggered by systemic underlying issues. Keep in mind, these scenarios aren’t the only influencers of gum recession, but they are regarded as perhaps the most relevant.  

Overzealous Brushing

Brushing and flossing are fundamental activities, as virtually every professional stresses their daily necessity, but similarly to all things good- excessive amounts can quickly turn ugly! The teeth pose as some of the sturdiest members of the human anatomy, and are capable of withstanding the pressures of not only cleaning, but the daily exertions of chewing and grinding food. 

There comes a catch though, as brushing in an overzealous fashion, either too vigorously or for too long, can wear away at not only the teeth’s durable enamel shell but damage the more sensitive tissues of the gumline, ultimately leading to recession! While such a function is typically done with good intentions, it can’t be stressed enough; building and practicing healthy oral care habits must be done in moderation and under the guidelines of trusted professionals, positive results are slowly built and maintained and cannot be manufactured through rushed attempts.

Grinding and Clenching

To a certain extent, the sturdiness of the teeth and jaw are designed to withstand the forces of clenching and grinding, especially when breaking down food. However, if a habit is formed, excessive amounts of this function can cause the gums to recede due to the pressure exerted. It may even cause teeth to loosen; giving space between the gums for bacteria to accumulate, leading to further recession or even disease.

Excessive grinding and clenching are perhaps trickier to conquer than overzealous brushing, as these motions are usually subconscious. Meaning many patients develop this habit as a medium to relieve stress and anxiety, and often become so habitual that they even perform it during sleep! Not to worry though, dental professionals have solutions to combat this issue, such as night guards.

Gum Disease

Periodontal (gum) disease is nothing to shrug off, and is a major factor associated with a receding gum line. Gum disease can be developed through a plethora of causes, including;

  • Bacteria accumulation along the teeth and gum line.
  • Hormonal changes, especially amongst pregnant women.
  • Particular medications, especially those with side effects on saliva production.
  • Certain medical conditions, such as cancers or HIV.
  • Tobacco product usage.
  • Certain genetic predispositions.

While the list could extend onwards, these are the most common. It remains important to take preventative measures or communicate with your dental professional if one of these factors is relative to your life. 

Being a spectrum, gum disease is capable of far worse than only gum recession, and severe cases may lead to permanent tooth and even bone loss if left unchecked. However, the beginning stage of gingivitis commonly sees gums become inflamed and kicks off a certain amount of recession.

Remember, these are only a few of the leading factors which influence gum recession. For further information, or if you believe you may be struggling with gum recession or any other oral complication, please contact our office or book an appointment with one of our talented dental professionals today!

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