Receding Gums is the loss of Gingiva or Gums in which the margins of the Gums surrounding the tooth start to expose the tooth which was earlier covered by gums. When Gums Recession starts the presence of Pockets can be seen in many cases and this might lead to Plaque and Calculus build up which will inturn lead to Bone loss and Periodontal ligament inflammation.
Receding Gums is a common problem seen in many individuals even in young people, in old age it is a common phenomenon to see Gum recession but sometimes some external factors can also be the cause of receding gums which if not controlled can even cause bone loss and lead to mobility of tooth.
Disease conditions like Periodontal disease which is seen as age progresses and with poor oral hygiene is a major cause of Gingival Recession and the second most common cause or reason is Faulty Brushing habits or Improper Tooth brushing. This leads to Cervical Abrasion which in turn leads to Gingival recession.
Many People are unaware of Gum Recession or Receding Gums, so you need to see for the following sings:
Sensitivity on taking Cold food items and liquids, this is mainly because the tooth structure is exposed and due is mostly sensitive to hot and cold because of faulty brushing habits which expose the Dentin.
Inflammation or Red margins of Gingiva surrounding the tooth: This happens when there is gingival inflammation because of the presence of Gingival Pockets and Calculus under the Gingiva (Sub gingival)
Causes of Gum Recession or Receding gums:
- Periodontal Disease: The gingiva covering the tooth beneath the cervical region rests on the underlying alveolar bone and during periodontal disease the underlying bone recedes which will in turn lead to the recession of gingiva.
- Faulty or Excessive Tooth Brushing: Brushing your teeth too hard and in a faulty manner can lead to recession of gingiva and loss of Enamel structure and Dentin exposes which will also case Sensitivity.
- Hormonal Changes: This is mainly seen in Females during their life time of hormonal changes at various stages like Puberty, Pregnancy, Menopause etc which will often lead to inflammation of the gums and make them more vulnerable to Recession.
- Excessive Clenching or Grinding of Teeth: This is seen in many patients who constantly keep grinding their teeth due to many reasons and the most common one is in their sleep called Night Grinding, where the teeth are eroded and due to the excessive occlusion forces Gums starts to recede in the teeth involved.
- Malocclusion or Crowded teeth: Mal-aligned teeth are also a cause of Receding gums as the anatomy of gums is affected and due to the excessive forces being put on the gums and bone because of the faulty occlusion due to crowded teeth. In this case we can see Gums receding only in relation to one tooth as well.
- Orthodontic Treatment: During Orthodontic Therapy due to forces of movement we can see that Gingival recession is seen in relation to single teeth more often.
- Genes: There has been a research which states that regardless of the amount and quality of Dental care you take, if certain genes are present Gum Recession is prone to be seen.
- Tongue or Lip Piercings: These have also been known to cause Gum Recession because of the foreign body effect or irritation caused due to them which causes gums to recede.
Steps to Stop Receding Gums:
- Correct your Brushing technique: Aggressive Horizontal motion of Tooth Brushing is not the proper technique as it injures the Gums and also causes erosion of the Enamel layer leading to Sensitivity. Bass Technique or Sulcular Brushing technique is the ideal brushing technique to stop receding Gums. Link to Bass method of Tooth Brushing
- Change your Brush type: If you are using a Hard Bristled brush either knowingly or unknowingly, if you start getting Gum recession you have to stop using it and change to either to Medium or Soft Bristled Tooth Brushes. Hard bristles along with faulty brushing technique is a major cause for Gum Recession.
- Regular Dental Check ups done: Getting regular dental Check up done to see presence of Sub Gingival Calculus which is a major cause of Gum Recession is a must for every person. Presence of Plaque and calculus under your gums can only be seen by a dentist. Getting Dental Check up every 6 months is a must to maintain good Oral Hygiene.
- Correction of Mal Occlusion or Crowded teeth: As we mentioned earlier Malocclusion is a cause of Receding gums because of occlusal forces which can be seen in relation to a single tooth as well.
- Use of Mouth Guard: Mouth guard is used to protect teeth from grinding against each other which is used by people who usffer from Night Grinding and also in Sports such as Boxing, Rugby etc where clenching of teeth can lead to tooth fracture and Erosion. Mouth Guard can be obtained at the dentist.
- Removal of Piercings: In cases where the Gingival recession is due to the presence of Piercings, the dentist might advice you to remove or change your piercings which do not interfere with your occlusion.