Let’s Talk Gum Recession

dental careThere are numerous changes that we can expect as we grow older. It used to be that gum recession was accepted as one of those changes. This is no longer the case. When it comes to age-related recession, the hairline is one thing; the gum line is another altogether.

Consequences of Gum Recession

We would never say that a receding hairline is without consequence. A receding gum line, on the other hand, can be a trigger for an unpleasant domino effect.

  • Receding gums indicate week connective tissue around teeth. Where there is a weakness, there is access. If tissue becomes loose, the risk for plaque buildup increases substantially.
  • The formation of pockets around teeth invites bacteria into a nice cozy, and hidden, home. This can lead to the persistent challenge of bad breath, and that is the least concerning consequence of bacterial accumulation.
  • Gum recession makes teeth appear longer.  This is more than a cosmetic concern. For the tooth to appear longer, hidden structure must be uncovered. That structure is the root. When roots become exposed, they become a target for cavity-causing bacteria.
  • Roots are close to the nerves of your teeth. Therefore, the exposure of roots will have an adverse effect on the internal structures. Over-reactive nerves will respond intensely to temperatures. The sensitivity that ensues could diminish the pleasure you get from some of your favorite warm or cold beverages.

Common Reasons for Gum Recession

Because one of the major topics of discussion in dentistry today is gum disease, there can be a misperception that this condition is the same as gum recession. That is not so. There are several reasons why gum recession may occur outside of gum disease:

Poor hygiene. The frequency with which you brush and floss your teeth affects everything from your breath to your overall oral health. The reason why dentists encourage twice-a-day brushing is because significant plaque buildup occurs within a 24 hour period. If you only brush your teeth once a day, your gum tissue is likely to be damaged by plaque and oral bacteria, leading to recession.

Aggressive hygiene. Remember! Gum tissue is quite delicate. Hard bristled toothbrushes and forceful technique can cause abrasions on this connective tissue.

Tobacco use. At this point in history, most people are aware of the adverse effects of smoking and of smokeless tobacco. Chewing tobacco places gum tissue at direct risk for breakdown. The lack of oxygen and contact with unhealthy chemicals causes recession, and can lead to much worse.

Gum recession is much more than a cosmetic problem. To gain control of your gum health, schedule a visit with Dr. Highsmith.

Posted in: Gum Disease

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