Are Your Gums Receding?

Happy young man in shirt and tie gesturing OK sign and smiling Healthy gums make for healthy teeth and better health overall. But if your gums are starting to recede, it makes them look anything but healthy, and this can affect the way your smile looks. Should you be concerned if your gums are receding?

What Causes Gum Recession?

Gum recession is a common problem. It can be caused by genetics, a lack of dental care, an oral piercing, periodontal disease, a misaligned bite, a habit of grinding or clenching teeth, and/or years of using tobacco products. It can even be the result of brushing teeth too aggressively.

How Serious Is Gum Recession?

When gum tissue begins to wear away, leaving more of the teeth exposed, “pockets” form between the teeth and gums. Bacteria collects in these pockets, which can damage teeth and bone. A deep cleaning of these pockets (a procedure called a “scaling and planing”) may be recommended.

In severe cases of gum recession, the roots of the tooth are exposed, which increases your risk of tooth decay, infection, and eventually tooth loss. In this situation, your dentist may recommend a soft tissue graft, a procedure in which tissue is taken from the top of your mouth and then stitched over the area of gum recession.

What Can I Do About Gum Recession?

Your dentist can recommend the next steps you should take, which will depend on how bad the recession is. Taking good care of your teeth, though, is always a good idea. Brushing (gently and with a soft-bristled toothbrush) and flossing every day can help to keep teeth and gums clean and free of bacteria. Massaging the gums using a gum massager can help to stimulate blood flow to help keep gums healthy.

It can be kind of a shock when you notice that you are seeing more of your teeth than you used to. It is something to discuss with your dentist – he or she may want to see you more often than your twice-a-year checkups to check on the recession. If you are concerned about your gums or any other issue, contact Samuel Jirik, DDS, Implant, Cosmetic & General Dentistry in Cabot, Arkansas. Call (501) 843-9561 for a consultation today!

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