What Causes Gum Recession?

Oral Health

Gum recession is the condition where your gum tissues (gingiva) start to pull back and reveal more of your root structure. Back in the day, people referred to receding gums as being “long in the tooth.”

Although gum recession is something that happens over time, it’s not necessarily a side effect of aging. There are several preventable causes of receding gums. Knowing what they are can prevent you from suffering with tooth sensitivity, higher decay rates, and aesthetic issues in the future.

Aggressive Brushing or Too Hard of a Toothbrush

Applying too much pressure while you’re brushing can cause your gums to naturally recede over time. All of that pushing and prodding makes the soft tissues gradually creep back, due to the “trauma” of overzealous toothbrushing.

The same can be said for using a brush with medium, hard, or extra-hard bristles. Ideally you want to stick to a soft or extra-soft toothbrush, since those bristles are gentler and conform better to your tooth.

Since you only want to apply gentle pressure while brushing, a soft brush with soft pressure is more than appropriate! Anything more can easily cause gum recession. 

Gum Disease 

Periodontal disease involves active bacterial infections under your gum tissue. Left untreated, your gums will gradually pull back and create “pockets” between the tissue and your tooth. Over time and with disease progression, the gums will also begin to recede. You might also notice symptoms like bleeding when you brush and floss, tooth mobility, sore teeth, or bad breath.

Gum disease may seem to “run in your family”, but that doesn’t mean it’s not preventable. Recognizing the early signs can help you avoid serious gum recession before it starts.

Crooked Teeth/Tooth Misalignment

Having a tooth that’s set out too far from the rest can cause tension or pulling on the gum tissues around it. The steady pull of the gingiva can gradually lead to thinner tissue coverage or actual recession, exposing the root of the tooth.

There’s a good chance that you’ll notice recession around crooked or misaligned teeth before the ones that are in a proper alignment. 

How High Should Gums Come Up on Teeth?

Your anatomical “crown” is the part of your tooth covered in enamel that’s visible when you smile. Right at the neck of the tooth (the part we call the “CEJ”) is where your gumlines are. Your gums need to always come up to this part of your tooth. If they pull back, they reveal the root. Tooth roots don’t have enamel over the next layer, which is called “dentin.” Once dentin is exposed, you’re prone to a plethora of problems!

Gum Recession Treatment in Phoenix

At Central Valley Dentistry, we tailor your gum recession treatment to fit your unique situation and lifestyle. It may be something like a tissue graft, bonding over the exposed root, or discussing orthodontic therapy to correct your bite alignment.

If you’re noticing early signs of receding gumlines, be sure to schedule an exam with Dr. Behbahani today!

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