Gingival recession, or receding gums, is a problem for many Canadians. This problem occurs when you lose gum tissue and the roots of your teeth are exposed. Often, body tissues regenerate and heal on their own. In fact, some tissues, like your oral mucosa – the moist lining inside your mouth – heal especially rapidly. Unfortunately, gum tissue will not regenerate on its own, and gingival recession requires surgical intervention for repair.
Gingival Recession Causes
Gum recession is most often caused by repetitive trauma, such as from brushing too hard, but there can be other reasons as well. For example, dental professionals know that smoking and other forms of tobacco use can cause receding gums. Additionally, advanced gum disease may lead to gingival recession, and some patients have a genetic predisposition for gum recession.
Prevention of Gingival Recession
There are several ways you can help prevent gum recession. First of all, avoid any tobacco use at all, including non-tobacco vaping. It is also important to brush twice daily, floss at least once a day, use an antiseptic mouthwash, and visit your dentist twice a year for professional cleanings. These efforts will help you avoid gum disease and its consequences, including gingival recession.
You should also use care when brushing your teeth. Thoroughness and the length of time you spend brushing are more important than pressure. Your gums are soft and sensitive, and pressing down too hard when you brush can damage them. Consider a soft-bristled toothbrush. This type of toothbrush can prevent harming your gums, and the soft bristles are better for cleaning around your gums than stiff bristles.
Finally, make an appointment with your dentist at the first sign of gum trouble. Gums that are sore, bleed, or show white spots need to be addressed by your dental professional.
Consequences of Gingival Recession
Your gums can recede far enough that your teeth roots become visible. Since roots are dark in appearance, this occurrence may make your smile unattractive. Additionally, gingival recession often results in sensitivity, particularly to hot and cold temperatures.
Repairing Gingival Recession
Once gingival recession occurs, it cannot be corrected without surgery. Trained dentists offer procedures called gum grafts to resolve the problem. In a gum graft, your dentist takes healthy tissue from another area of your mouth and attaches this tissue to the location of the gingival recession. The grafted tissue then heals and covers the recessed area.
This surgery may sound painful, but modern anesthetic and pain control methods mean that discomfort is kept to a minimum. If you suffer from gingival recession, talk to your dentist about your grafting options.