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The Dangers of Receding Gums

The Dangers of Receding Gums

Gum recession is a common type of periodontal disease. About 88% of Americans over 65 have gum recession on one or more teeth. Receding gums pull away from the tooth's surface and reveal the root, which can lead to tooth loss. 

At Russell Family Dentistry in Tomball, Texas, Louis Russell Jr., DDS provides a full range of professional dentistry services to ensure your optimal oral health. Our team offers periodontal care to help prevent and treat receding gums and protect your overall health.

Often, poor oral hygiene leads to gum recession, but many patients simply have a genetic predisposition for it. Other potential triggers include using the wrong brushing methods and grinding your teeth frequently. 

Symptoms of receding gums

Your tooth roots are firmly attached to the jawbone. The crown is the area of the tooth that protrudes above the gum line, and the tooth's neck is the portion that lies between the crown and the root. 

Healthy gums completely enclose the tooth, giving teeth stability and shielding them from bacteria. The severity of receding gum symptoms varies depending on how much the gum tissue pulls away from the tooth. Some signs of receding gums include:

Left untreated, receding gums can lead to serious oral health problems, like bone loss, loose teeth, and tooth loss.

Causes of receding gums

Gums lose volume and pull back if they’re frequently inflamed. Oral bacteria made up of proteins, carbohydrates, and other food ingredients produce plaque deposited on the teeth. Periodic plaque removal is necessary to prevent inflammation and, thus, gum recession.

Infrequent toothbrushing

Regular tooth brushing can help prevent soft plaque. However, plaque can form tartar, which you can’t remove with a regular toothbrush. The dentist must remove the tartar because the rough surface of the tartar allows more bacteria to settle there, increasing the risk of gingivitis.

Brushing too hard

Using too much pressure when brushing your teeth can eventually cause your gums to recede, especially if you use a hard-bristled toothbrush. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a gentle hand while brushing your teeth is enough to remove plaque and bacteria without damaging sensitive gum tissue.

Grinding teeth (bruxism)

Frequent grinding of your teeth, called bruxism, can cause gum recession. The forceful motion of bruxism puts intense pressure on the gums, causing them to recede over time. Teeth grinding can also cause loose teeth. 

Piercings and dentures

Lip or tongue piercings or uncomfortable dentures that don’t properly fit can cause receding gums by placing excessive pressure on the gums and bone.

Consequences of receding gums

Tooth necks and root surfaces, which have very thin enamel coatings, eventually become exposed if the gums continue to recede. Therefore, tooth decay is one of the most frequent effects of gum recession because, without the natural barrier of gums against bacteria, teeth are in danger of bacterial invasion.

Exposed tooth roots are painfully sensitive to touch and temperature stimuli, such as when consuming ice cream or hot beverages. Additionally, gum recession allows bacteria to easily enter the periodontium (your tooth’s supporting structure).

Bacteria in the periodontium can cause periodontitis (gum disease) and inflammation. Long-lasting periodontal inflammation can also affect your jawbone, which is then slowly destroyed. After losing their anchoring, teeth become loose and sometimes even fall out.

Receding gums: When should you see a doctor?

Make an appointment at Russell Family Dentistry if you notice your teeth appearing longer. “Longer” teeth signify gum recession that may already be painful, and we should treat the issue immediately.

Dr. Russell and our team of specialists can help you stop gum recession if we diagnose and treat it quickly. The most crucial step is to recognize and eliminate triggers. Regular checkups are vital for healthy teeth and gums.

Depending on the extent of receding gums and gum tissue loss, a range of treatments is available. The earlier you visit our experts for a diagnosis, the better we can treat receding gums. Call our office or request an appointment online.

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