How to Stop Receding Gums

If you look in the mirror, and your teeth seem to be particularly long, you may
be suffering from receding gums.

The gum tissue is a layer of skin that sheaths the jaw bone and provides added
support to the teeth. It also provides a seal around the teeth so that the food
debris and bacteria that enters our mouth every day cannot penetrate the soft
tissue surrounding the lower part of the teeth and the jaw bone itself.

However, sometimes the gum begins to pull away from the edge of the tooth,
breaking the seal. When this happens, the patient is at risk of developing a
variety of dental problems.

What causes receding gums?

Receding gums can be caused by a number of things. These include:

Gum disease
Gum disease is the single biggest cause of gum recession. When the infection
progresses, it can destroy the gum tissue and erode parts of the jaw bone,
causing the gums to retract.

Some people are naturally more likely to develop gum disease, because they
have a family history of the condition. This then puts them at increased risk of
receding gums.

Brushing too hard
Many people believe that brushing their teeth hard will help to ensure they are
as clean and healthy as possible. However, brushing too hard can cause the
enamel on the teeth to wear away and the gums to recede.

Hormone changes / pregnancy
Women who are pregnant or in menopause are much more likely to develop
gum problems. This is because changes in hormone levels can increase
sensitivity of the gums and make them more vulnerable to gum disease and

Poor oral care
Neglecting to brush and floss properly, and not visiting the dentist regularly can
cause tartar to accumulate on the teeth. This can lead to gum disease, and
eventually, gum recession.

Many studies have shown that people who smoke are substantially more likely
to develop periodontal problems, including receding gums.

Teeth Grinding
Many people suffer from a condition known as bruxism, which is characterized
by grinding the teeth, often while the sufferer is asleep. This can put excessive
strain on your teeth, wearing them down and causing the gums to recede. Your
dentist may be able to recommend wearing a clear, plastic night guard over your
teeth to protect them while you sleep.

Symptoms of receding gums

The symptoms of receding gums are similar to that of gum disease, and include:
- Red, swollen gums
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing
- Pain at the gum line
- Bad breath
- Tooth sensitivity
Teeth may also appear longer than normal, and in severe cases may even seem

Dental problems caused by receding gums

If you are suffering from the most severe grade of gum disease, known as
periodontitis or your gums have started to recede, the supporting tissue and
bone begins to break down.

This creates ‘pockets’ around the teeth, into which debris and bacteria falls. The
size of these pockets means that while it is easy for bacteria to get inside, they
are almost impossible to clean out.

Specialist tools used by a hygienist or dentist are the only way of accessing and removing debris and bacteria from inside before they advance under the gum tissue and cause further bone loss and cause you to lose a tooth.

How you can help prevent receding gums

The best way that you can help to prevent receding gums is to make gum health
a priority in your daily oral care routine.

Brush after meals at least twice a day, floss daily and use a toothpaste and
mouthwash formulated for gum health. Remember to choose a toothbrush that
has soft to medium bristles, and don’t brush too aggressively as this could cause
the enamel on your teeth to wear away.

Your dentist is the best person to help you look after your gums, so in addition
to a strong brushing and flossing routine at home, you should ensure that you
attend all check-up appointments and make regular visits to your hygienist.
Your dental professionals will be able to spot potential problems with your
gums early, and advise you what steps to take to help prevent them from

Smokers have been shown to be more likely to develop gum disease. Choosing
to give up the cigarettes can not only reduce the likelihood that your gums will
recede, but will also significantly improve your overall health and wellbeing.

If your gum recession is likely to be due to you grinding your teeth, then
wearing a plastic night guard over them will almost certainly protect them – and
your gums from damage.

If you are concerned about gum recession, contact make an appointment with our
dentist who will be happy to examine your teeth and give you the appropriate
advice or recommendation.