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It’s Not Because They’re Going Out of Style: Here’s Why Gums Can Recede

November 10, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — drsmiley @ 9:19 pm
Gum disease

Though the teeth often take all the credit for a lovely smile, the gums are truly the unsung heroes behind a beautiful grin. Your gums provide your teeth with both a stable foundation and their supply of nutrients, and keeping them in good shape is crucial to your oral health. Unfortunately, many a patient deals with a receding gumline, which exposes the roots of their teeth and makes them more vulnerable to injury and decay. A receding gumline is often a sign of gum disease and requires professional attention for treatment. Here’s some information on what can cause a receding gumline.

What Causes a Gumline to Recede?

There are a number of factors that can cause a gumline to recede. These include:

  • Poor oral hygiene: If a patient has accumulated too much plaque between their teeth and gums, the bacteria living in it can cause the gums to become inflamed and infected.
  • Aggressive oral hygiene methods: Brushing and flossing too harshly can damage the teeth and gums. Take care to focus on technique while using a soft-bristled brush that won’t be so harsh on your enamel.
  • Genetic factors: Some patients are genetically predisposed to a receding gumline. In this case, there are still ways for your dentist to treat the problem.
  • Misaligned bite: Gum recession can happen if your teeth aren’t properly aligned, which can lead to dental injuries and difficulty keeping the teeth clean.
  • Trauma or injury: Significant trauma due to something like a violent strike or teeth grinding can cause the gums to recede.
  • Tobacco use: The gums harden in response to the presence of tobacco smoke, and having to do this frequently can exhaust them. The nicotine in tobacco also causes blood vessels to constrict, which makes it harder for the gums to heal and fight infections.

How Can a Receding Gumline Be Treated?

While gums will not grow back, there are things your dentist can do to stop gum disease from progressing and help restore your smile’s appearance. A few include:

  • Deep cleaning: If you’re dealing with gum disease, your dentist may give your mouth a deep cleaning. This will use special techniques like scaling and root planing which can eliminate plaque and tartar from around the roots of your teeth.
  • Gum contouring: This allows a dentist to reshape your gumline, which can restore your gums’ appearance and make them easier to clean.
  • Surgical options: Your dentist may recommend oral surgery to reconstruct your gums after mass has been lost. This can include procedures like gum grafting or regeneration therapy.

It’s certainly distressing to realize that you have a receding gumline. The good news is that gum disease can almost always be prevented with proper oral hygiene and regular dental appointments. However, if your gums don’t seem to be in the best shape, your dentist is equipped to help them become healthy and strong again.

About the Author

Dr. Jonathan Smiley earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine at the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine and continues his education through advanced training from the Dawson Dental Academy. He is proud to be a member of the American Dental Association, the Iowa Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. His office in Waverly, IA offers general, cosmetic, restorative, and emergency dentistry as well as periodontal treatments. For more information on taking care of your gums, contact the office online or dial (319) 352-2270.

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