You’re probably expecting your mouth to change as you get older, but do you know the difference between natural changes and those that are the sign of an oral health problem that needs a dentist’s attention? Gum recession – a condition where the roots of the teeth become exposed – is often thought to be part of the aging process, hence the term “long in the tooth.” But if you want to protect your smile, it’s important not to make this mistake! In this post, you’ll learn the truth behind gum recession and what you can do to prevent it.
What Exactly is Gum Recession?
Having receding gums means that the soft tissues covering the roots of your teeth have started to wear away or pull back. This creates pockets along the gum line where bacteria can build up and attack the supporting tissue and bone structures that hold the teeth in place. Because gum recession happens slowly over time, most people won’t even realize that it’s happening to them at first. Warning signs might include tooth sensitivity, a notch in the gum line, or a tooth that looks longer than it was originally.
What Causes Gum Recession?
While gum recession is more likely to occur as you get older, it’s not directly caused by aging. The most significant risk factors for this oral health issue include:
- Frequent Clenching or Grinding of the Teeth: Bruxism (the act of grinding and clenching your teeth at night) can put a lot of pressure on your teeth. That same pressure also damages the gums.
- Improper Brushing: You only need to brush gently to remove plaque from your teeth; scrubbing too hard wears away gum tissue (along with tooth enamel). Aggressive flossing can result in similar damage.
- Acidic Drinks: Sports drinks, sodas, and other beverages contain acids that eat away at your gum tissue.
- Gum Disease: A severe gum infection gives oral bacteria a chance to attack and destroy gum tissue along with the structures that hold your teeth in your mouth.
What Can You Do to Avoid Gum Recession?
Gum recession is completely preventable as long as you’re proactive. Brush and floss every day to prevent gum disease; talk to your dentist about your technique to make sure you’re not doing more harm than good. Limit the amount of acidic foods and beverages you enjoy, and get a mouthguard right away if you think you have bruxism.
Most importantly, don’t forget to visit your dentist on a regular basis so that they can identify and treat oral health problems in their early stages before you would have noticed them on your own. And of course, if you have reason to believe you’re suffering gum recession despite the care you give your mouth, you’ll need to make an appointment as soon as possible for periodontal therapy!
About the Practice
Bethel Dental Care serves patients from all around Accra and all over Ghana with the latest dental technology and treatments. Our doctors are always striving for new heights in their training, and they’ll do everything they can to keep you feeling welcome and relaxed during your visit. If think you might have receding gums, contact us today to schedule an appointment.