Why are my gums receding?

Categories: General Dentistry

Woman with gum inflammation, closeup It can be quite a surprise when you look in the mirror one day and notice that you are seeing more tooth and less gums. It can be especially upsetting if you are someone who makes an extra effort to keep your teeth healthy. You may wonder why your gums are receding and what you can do about it – read on for some information on this common dental condition and how it is treated.

What causes gum recession?

Gum recession runs in families, but it can also be caused by aggressive tooth brushing, periodontal disease, or a lack of dental care. It can also be the result of years of tobacco product use, a lip or tongue piercing, a misaligned bite, or years of grinding your teeth. Serious problems can start when the gums recede – the gum tissue wears away and the lower part of the tooth is exposed. Pockets between the teeth and gums form where bacteria begins to collect. The combination of the bacteria and the exposed tooth can lead to damage to the tooth, the bone, and the gums, and can even eventually lead to tooth loss if it is left untreated.

What can be done about gum recession?

To keep your teeth and gums healthy, your dentist may recommend a scaling and planing, which is a deep cleaning of the pockets between the teeth and gums. In very serious cases, surgery may be recommended, such as a soft tissue graft. In this procedure, tissue is taken from the top of the mouth and then attached to the area of gum recession.

Of course, preventing gum recession is much better than treating it with surgery! To prevent recession, take good care of your teeth – brush at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Make sure you floss and eat healthy foods, and see your dentist at least twice a year for checkups (although he or she may want to see you more often if your gums are receding).

If you are concerned about receding gums, or if it is just time for a good cleaning, call Pacific Northwest Smiles. Call 425-357-6400 today!