Dental Recession: Causes

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Understanding Dental Recession: Causes, Consequences, and Care

Dental recession, commonly known as gum recession, is a condition where the margin of the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth wears away, or pulls back, exposing more of the tooth or the tooth’s root. This phenomenon can lead to significant dental health issues if not addressed properly. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the causes of dental recession, its potential consequences, and how you can take care of your oral health to prevent or manage this condition.

What Causes Dental Recession?

Several factors can contribute to gum recession, including:

– Periodontal Diseases: These are bacterial gum infections that destroy gum tissue and the supporting bone that holds your teeth in place. Gum disease is the most common cause of gum recession.
– Aggressive Tooth Brushing: Brushing your teeth too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can wear away at the enamel on your teeth and cause the gums to recede.
– Insufficient Dental Care: Inadequate brushing, flossing, and rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash can lead to plaque turning into tartar—a hard substance that can only be removed by a dentist and can lead to gum recession.
– Tobacco Products: Regular use of tobacco can cause sticky plaque to build up on the teeth, leading to gum recession.
– Hormonal Changes: Fluctuations in female hormone levels during a woman’s lifetime, such as during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, can make gums more sensitive and more vulnerable to gum recession.
– Genetics: Some people may be more susceptible to gum disease, and consequently, gum recession, simply because of their genetic makeup.

Consequences of Dental Recession

Gum recession is not something to take lightly. If left untreated, it can lead to a host of dental issues, including:

– Increased Sensitivity: Exposed roots can lead to tooth sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweet foods and drinks.
– Root Decay: Since the root surface is not covered by hard enamel, exposed roots are more susceptible to decay than the crown part of the tooth.
– Aesthetic Concerns: Gum recession can lead to teeth appearing longer than normal, which may affect your smile and decrease your confidence.
– Tooth Loss: In severe cases, gum recession can lead to tooth loss due to the loss of support structures.

Taking Care of Your Gums

Preventing and managing gum recession involves a combination of professional dental care and good oral hygiene practices. Here are some tips:

– Regular Dental Checkups: Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. Early detection of gum recession can lead to more effective management.
– Proper Brushing Technique: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle motions to avoid causing damage to your gums and enamel.
– Quit Tobacco: Avoiding tobacco products can significantly reduce your risk of gum recession.
– Balanced Diet: A healthy diet, rich in vitamins and minerals, can help prevent gum disease and support overall oral health.
– Gum Graft Surgery: For severe cases, a dentist might recommend gum graft surgery to restore gum tissue and protect your teeth.

Gum recession is a prevalent dental issue, but with the right care and preventative measures, it’s possible to manage and even prevent this condition. Always consult with your dentist if you notice changes in your gum health for personalized advice and treatment options. Remember, a healthy smile starts with healthy gums.

Last updated on February 29, 2024

Dr. Deepak Aulak

Dr. Deepak Aulak is a London-based dental practitioner with a special interest in cosmetic dentistry. Having graduated from King's College London in Dentistry, Dr. Aulak was decorated with over a dozen awards and scholarships along the way, which notably include the Jelf Medal, Malleson Prize for research and GKT Hospital's Full Shields.


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