Receding gums aren’t just unattractive. Without gum tissue to protect the tooth root, it becomes more susceptible to decay and painful sensitivity. This problem, also called gingival recession, has a variety of solutions, depending on the specific cause.

 Receding gums                                                    Healthy gums

What causes gingival recession?

Receding gums can be the result of many factors, including improper brushing technique, lip or tongue piercing, periodontal disease, and tobacco use.

In an attempt to thoroughly clean their teeth, some people make the mistake of overbrushing. If you brush forcefully, use a hard-bristled brush, or brush in a sawing motion across the teeth, your gums can be worn away. Gums can also be worn away when pierced lip or tongue jewelry rub on gum tissue, often painlessly.

Another common cause of gingival recession is periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. Periodontal disease and its underlying bone loss cause the gums to pull away from the teeth and become loose. If you smoke or chew tobacco, you should be aware that this increases the risk of periodontal disease. In addition, the many harmful chemicals in tobacco make it harder for gum tissue to regain its attachment to the tooth.

Treating gingival recession

After we’ve determined the causes of your gingival recession, we’ll make treatment recommendations that fit your situation.

Some options are changing your brushing technique, removing any pierced lip or tongue jewelry, treating any periodontal disease, avoiding tobacco, restoring any cavities, or treating sensitive teeth. In some cases, we may also recommend surgery to replace the missing gum tissue.

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