Gum Recession is a bigger problem than most people think. A startling 88% of people age 65 and older have receding gums, and left untreated, there can be severe consequences. Gum recession happens when your gums become infected and start to pull back from your teeth. Maybe this sounds like a minor issue at first, but eventually your gums will expose your tooth’s roots, which leaves you dangerously vulnerable to infection and can even lead to tooth loss. Even scarier, is in most cases when gum tissue has pulled back and receded from around teeth, gums do not grow back. But it’s not all bad news; you can stop and gum recession, but to do that, you have to know what to look for. For that you’ll find a few tips below. For more advanced dental care needs you may need our professional help with a scaling and root planing procedure.
Gum recession has very subtle signs. In fact, the signs are so innocuous that they often go unnoticed, so it’s important to be vigilant; catching on early can mean the difference between successful or unsuccessful recovery.
Here are some of the subtle signs of gum recession to watch for so that you can catch on before its too late:
If you notice visible changes to your smile, there’s a good chance that you’re experiencing gum recession or some other dental ailment. For instance, your teeth may appear longer, your gums may appear to be shrinking and the spaces between your teeth may become more pronounced. The ultimate physical sign is the ability to see your tooth roots. If you notice any of these changes in your mouth, it’s best to make an appointment with your dentist to see if you need further treatment.
If you are experiencing gum recession, you may find that your teeth and gums are abnormally sensitive. Exposed roots can make your teeth hurt when they come into contact with hot or cold substances. The infection in your gums may also cause them to be red, swollen and painful, and you may notice that you bleed more when brushing and flossing your teeth. Whether or not you’re experiencing gum recession, any sensitivity to your teeth and gums could be a sign of underlying disease or health complications, so you should visit your dentist for a check up and treatment.
One of the biggest signs of gum recession is loosened teeth and, in severe cases, tooth loss. Because of the loss of gums and exposure of the tooth roots, the tooth becomes destabilized and is less firmly rooted in the mouth. This makes vulnerable teeth susceptible to looseness and detachment from the mouth altogether. If you are experiencing any tooth looseness, it is likely that you’re experiencing gum recession and should contact your dentist immediately.
Anybody can fall victim to gum recession. An estimated ¾ of adults are known to have some form of periodontal disease, an advanced form of gingivitis that results in gum recession. However, there are a number of factors that can make one vulnerable to this dental complication. Risk factors, including: age, tobacco use, genetics (family history of gum disease/thin gums) and diseases such as diabetes and HIV.
However, there’s a way to lessen your chances of gum recession. In particular, If you are vulnerable to any of the previous risk factors, it is important that you take preventative measures, including:
Harsh tooth brushing is one of the most common — and most preventable — causes of gum recession. It may seem like you’re doing your teeth a favor by brushing extra vigorously, but you’re actually just adding unnecessary strain to your gums. Instead, try using a soft-bristled toothbrush to apply gentle, circular strokes. By brushing in circles, you’ll do more work to disrupt bacteria and food particles than with back-and-forth strokes, all without any unnecessary pressure. When it comes to your brushing technique, less is more.
Because receding gums are caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria, thus causing gum infection, good hygiene habits can go a long way toward reducing your chances of this issue befalling you. Be sure that you brush and floss at least twice a day (in the morning and before bed) and try to brush between meals if you can. This helps to disrupt food particles and prevent the production of bacteria.
Though hygiene is an important factor to preventing gum recession, it can still occur even when one practices the best oral habits. This is because, though regular flossing and brushing is great for removing bacteria, food and plaque that builds up throughout the day, one cannot remove tartar — which builds over the long term — without the help of a dental cleaning. This is why biannual cleanings and check ups are vital — even if you don’t notice the symptoms of gum recession, your dental is sure to be able to identify early signs and promptly intervene before the situation gets worse.
Gum recession is an oftentimes silent and destructive menace. It can be very hard to spot the signs, so we want to be sure that you know exactly what to look for. Ultimately, however, the best person to look for and prevent gum recession is your dentist or periodontist. Regular check ups and cleanings are of paramount importance for maintaining a healthy smile, so book an appointment with San Antonio Periodontics and Implants if you’re experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms or if you simply want to check in, make sure all is well and spend some time with our stellar team!
Our professional and gentle treatment of gum disease, cosmetic procedures and dental implants is personalized.