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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

3 Reasons for Gum Recession

Dr. Vincent Wan


Although gum recession is only a loss of a little bit of gum tissue, it can be a very big problem.  Many patients are concerned because it is aesthetically displeasing.  Gum recession can make the teeth look longer and older than they actually are.  Without the protection of the gums, the neck of the tooth where the gum has receded may look yellower or even be indented.  Many patients complain of sensitivity to cold, hot and sweet things around teeth that have gum recession.  They may need to use sensitive toothpastes or get fillings to cover and protect the areas.

There are many reasons for gum recession.  Let’s discuss 3 common ones:

  1. Gum Disease

When bacteria damage the superficial part of the gums, they swell, bleed and become very red.  With professional cleaning at the dentist and good oral hygiene at home, this damage can reverse and the gums heal.  When the damage goes deeper, gum tissue and the bone covered by it are destroyed.  This damage is irreversible, resulting in visible gum recession and bone loss around the teeth.  Make sure you maintain healthy gums with 6 monthly visits to the dentist for checking and cleaning.

  1. Incorrect Oral Hygiene

Incorrect oral hygiene techniques can lead to physical trauma of gum tissue.  Commonly, gum recession is caused by being too aggressive with the toothbrush.  Prolonged hard horizontal scrubbing can cause striations on the teeth and gum recession.  Use a soft toothbrush and a gentle circular technique to lessen the risk of damage.

  1. Teeth Grinding

Teeth clenching and grinding commonly occurs unknowingly during sleep, usually due to stress.  When you grind your teeth side to side against each other, you rock the teeth in their sockets.  This can damage the necks of the teeth where the gum joins with the tooth.  Tooth structure abfraction and gum recession results.  This is similar damage to a fence post where it meets the ground when you rock the fence post side to side.  See your dentist about teeth grinding as you may need a protective night guard called an occlusal splint.