Receding gums are a painful — and unsightly — dental condition. This occurs when the gum tissue that surrounds teeth is worn away or pulled back from its place, effectively exposing the porous dentin underneath.
When this part of the tooth is exposed to the environment, various substances can then gain entry into the tooth’s pulp chamber, which houses the sensitive dental nerves.
This explains the pain that occurs with food consumption. However, pain is not the only manifestation of this dental condition; when gums are pulled back from the teeth, they can form pockets or gaps where bacteria can become trapped, later on causing infection of the surrounding tissue.
Are receding gums a rare condition?
Gum recession is actually a common problem, and there are many factors that can lead to its development. Listed below are some of the most common causes of this condition, along with some tips on how to prevent their effects:
- Periodontal disease. This condition is a type of disease that involves periodontal tissues, or bones that support and surround the teeth. There are various causes of periodontal disease, but the most common is inflammation secondary to the presence of plaques. Plaques are films formed by bacteria, and as such, proper and regular brushing, flossing and regular visits to a dentist will prevent their formation.
- Aggressive brushing. Brushing is done to remove food deposits and plaques that form on teeth surfaces; however, this does not mean that it should be done aggressively. Aggressive brushing can wear away the enamel of teeth where gums are attached. To prevent gum recession, make sure to brush gently and only use brushes with soft bristles.
- Inadequate oral hygiene. Inadequate oral hygiene will lead to plaque and tartar build-up on teeth, and if this condition persists for a long time, it may eventually result to periodontal gum disease. The same preventive measures for periodontal disease —brushing, flossing and regular dental check-up — also apply here.
- Tobacco products. The use of tobacco products can lead to build-up of plaque as well as chemicals from cigarettes and cigars. Smoking also contributes to periodontal disease, and such, should be avoided completely.
- Tongue or lip piercings. These piercings can rub against gum tissues and wear away or pull back gums from the teeth. In addition, the constant rubbing may also cause cuts and infections, which can lead to inflammation and other gum diseases. To prevent gums from receding, it’s best not to attach foreign materials onto these sensitive tissues.
- Heredity. In some cases, your own genes can make you susceptible to gum recession. Some people are born with insufficient or fragile gum tissues, which may easily be damaged even with gentle brushing. Others may have tooth crowding, and gum tissue may be insufficient to accommodate extra teeth. For cases such as these, regular dental check-ups, and gentle gum care are necessary.