All That You Wanted To Know About Receding Gums
What are receding gums?
Receding gums can be described as a condition where a great portion of the teeth or even the roots of the teeth are exposed, because of the pulling back or wearing away of the gum tissue. The gum tissue surrounds the teeth and also keeps them firmly in place. Due to certain conditions, when this tissue recedes, it exposes the roots of the teeth, which is painful.
When gums recede, gaps are formed between the teeth and the gum line, making them more prone to bacterial attacks. The bacteria slowly build up and slowly cause tooth decay and also gum disease. If left untreated, this can lead to severe pain and in extreme cases, loss of teeth. Receding gums are generally considered a common dental problem. Most people do not recognize this problem as this occurs gradually over a period of time.
What are the early symptoms of receding gums?
Some of the early symptoms of receding gums are tooth sensitivity and a longer appearance of the tooth. This is something that you should not ignore. If left unattended to, it may lead to severe oral and dental issues that require treatments for a long period of time.
The other symptoms include:
- Red, swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Bleeding after brushing
- Loose teeth
- Pain at the gum line
- Shrinking gums
What are the causes?
There are many reasons as to why gums recede. Some of these are discussed briefly here.
- Periodontal diseases – Simply put, these periodontal diseases are nothing but bacterial gum infections. These are the main causes for gum recession. The periodontal tissue is a supporting tissue that helps in keeping the teeth in place. When bacteria attack this tissue, it degenerates, exposing the tooth root. Gum disease is supposedly the main cause for receding gums.
- Aggressive tooth brushing – Teeth are supposed to be brushed in the right way. Any aggressive way of brushing teeth makes the enamel on the teeth wear out, slowly resulting in gum recession.
- Poor oral and dental hygiene and care – Inadequate dental care, such as not brushing properly or not flossing or not rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash, leads to gum disease. The plaque that has built up slowly forms tartar, causing the gums to recede.
- A family history of gum disease- A few people are prone to gum disease and hence also have receding gums, due to their genes.
- Excessive grinding and clenching of teeth – This puts unnecessary force on the teeth that can cause gums to recede.
- Use of tobacco products - These products have a tendency to accumulate plaque and tartar in the mouth. These are difficult to remove and over a period of time, make the gum line recede back.
- Crooked teeth with a misaligned bite can also cause gum recession.
- Hormonal changes in women cause teeth to be more sensitive and vulnerable to gum recession.
What are the treatments available to treat receding gums?
Receding gums can be diagnosed rightly by a dentist. Any mild form of gum recession can be treated by deep cleaning techniques and non-surgical techniques. Scaling and root planing are the most common techniques used for treating receding gums.
The plaque and tartar that has formed over the gum line are removed with specialized scaling tools and the exposed root areas of the tooth are smoothened so that bacteria do not colonize. Antibiotics are also given soas to remove any other harmful bacteria that might have been left in the gum line.
Despite this non-surgical procedure, if there is an excess loss of bone and the gum pockets are too deep, then gum surgery may be required to treat the receding gums.