If you have receding gums, you may be wondering if there’s anything you can do about it. Here, we’ll explain what receding gums are, what causes them, and answer the question: is gum recession reversible?
What Is Gum Recession?
Gum recession occurs when the gum tissue surrounding your teeth wears away and pulls back. This exposes more of your tooth as well as its root. Gums are vital in protecting your teeth because they secure your teeth to the bone. Therefore, when gums recede, other oral health issues can occur. For example, when your gums recede, pockets form between the gumline and the teeth. Bacteria can buildup in the pockets and lead to dental health problems like tooth decay and even tooth loss.
What Causes Gum Recession?
There are a variety of things that cause gum recession. Perhaps the most common reason is that you have periodontal disease, the earliest stage of which destroys gum tissue and then proceeds to destroy the bone that’s holding your teeth in place. Periodontal disease is often caused by poor oral hygiene because plaque builds up and hardens into tartar which causes gums to recede.
Genetics can also cause gum recession with 30 percent of people being more susceptible to gum recession and gum disease based solely on their genes. Those who aggressively brush their teeth are more at risk for gum recession as well as weakening their enamel. Hormones can also make gums more vulnerable to receding gums and gum disease, particularly those associated with puberty, menopause, and pregnancy. If you grind your teeth, you’re putting pressure on your teeth and gums and this can lead to gum recession. If you have poorly aligned or crooked teeth, you are also at a higher risk for gum disease because this also puts more force on the gums and bones.
Is Gum Recession Reversible?
The short answer is no, which is why it’s so important to practice good oral health habits every day like brushing and flossing, but there are a number of things you can do to treat gum recession. The exact treatment will depend on the severity of gum recession. For example, if your gum recession was caused by you brushing too hard, your dentist will simply show you a better way of brushing your teeth so you won’t cause any further harm to your gums.
If you suffer from periodontal disease and that is the cause of your gum recession, you may be a good candidate for tooth scaling and root planning. This process removes plaque and tartar that’s built up on the roots and teeth so that the gum tissue can heal and reattach to the teeth. For advanced gum recession, where there is a loss of bone and very deep pockets, grafting surgery may be needed to repair the damage to the gums.
How Can You Prevent Gum Recession?
You can prevent gum recession by practicing good oral health habits every day. This means brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time, flossing at least once a day, and using fluoride toothpaste. Coming in to see us for regular checkups and cleanings is also vital so that we can give your teeth a deeper clean than you can get at home and so we can catch any early signs of oral health issues. Please contact our office to set up an appointment if you think you may need treatment for gum recession.