7 Ways to Prevent Gum Recession
Posted on: July 11, 2022
3 minute read
Gum recession can happen for a number of reasons. If your gums pull back from your teeth, this can affect the look of your smile, expose more of the sensitive teeth roots underneath and increase your oral health risks.
While receding gums won’t grow back, your dentist can recommend ways to prevent further recession. They may also discuss treatments such as gum grafting to replace lost gum tissue to aesthetically support dental implants. Book a consultation today to discuss your options for dental implant treatment.
How do I know if my gums are receding?
You may notice your gum line receding if your gums look smaller or your teeth look longer than they used to. This isn’t always obvious though, especially in the early stages, so it’s important to attend regular check-ups with your dentist. They will be able to spot gum recession early and could prevent it from getting worse.
As the gums pull back from the teeth, they expose the tooth roots. Inside the tooth roots are nerves and blood vessels which make teeth sensitive to temperature and vulnerable to decay and infection.
If gum recession is caused by advanced gum disease or another condition, you may also notice other symptoms such as red, swollen or bleeding gums, bad breath or loose teeth.
What causes gums to recede?
Gum recession can have many possible causes, including:
- Gum disease
- Brushing your teeth too hard
- Natural ageing
- Smoking or other tobacco use
- Trauma to the gum
- Pressure from misaligned teeth or teeth grinding
- Poorly-fitted dentures
- Irritation from mouth piercings
Certain medical conditions and hormone changes during pregnancy and menopause may also affect blood flow to the gums and increase your risk of gum recession and related problems.
How to prevent gum recession
If you think your gums may be receding, you should make an appointment with your dentist. They will examine your mouth and may recommend dental treatments or home care tips that could stop your gums receding further. Depending on what’s causing your gum recession, preventive care could include:
1. Gum disease treatment
Gum disease is one of the most common oral health problems that can affect people of all ages. This can develop if bacteria in plaque build up around the gum line, irritating or infecting the gum tissue.
In its early stage (gingivitis), gum disease can usually be treated through a combination of hygiene treatments provided by your dentist and good home care.
If gingivitis isn’t treated, it can develop into more severe periodontitis, which may eventually lead to gum recession or even tooth loss. Periodontitis may be managed with deep cleaning treatments to remove bacteria from the gum and around the roots of teeth, either by your dentist or a specialist periodontist.
2. Brush more gently
Brushing your teeth roughly or using a firm toothbrush doesn’t remove more plaque, but it can damage tooth enamel and gum tissue.
Dentists recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a gentle brushing motion to protect your teeth and gums. You should brush your teeth twice a day using fluoride toothpaste and replace your toothbrush every three months or when the bristles become frayed.
You may also consider using a manual toothbrush rather than an electric toothbrush for better control over your brushing technique.
3. Quit smoking
Smoking and other tobacco use can increase the build-up of plaque on the teeth and around the gums. This increases the risk of gum disease and other serious diseases, such as oral cancer.
Quitting smoking or cutting down can stop gum recession and lower your oral health risks and general health risks. If you need help to quit, talk to your doctor or call Quitline for advice on 13 7848.
4. Teeth straightening treatments
Teeth that are crooked or misaligned can put pressure on the gums and jaw, which can lead to gum recession. Your dentist can discuss orthodontic treatments such as braces or clear aligners to bring your teeth and jaws into better alignment.
5. Teeth grinding treatments
Bruxism is the involuntary grinding or clenching of teeth when you’re asleep, when you feel anxiety or stress or at other times. This may cause your teeth and gums to wear down over time, as well as leading to other complications such as jaw or TMJ pain.
Treatments for bruxism can vary and should address its underlying cause as well as the symptoms. Dental treatments may include teeth straightening or wearing a protective splint over your teeth at night.
6. Improve your oral hygiene
Besides brushing more gently, it’s also important to floss daily and cut down on sugar in your diet to help reduce plaque and prevent gum recession. Drinking plenty of water helps to rinse and hydrate the mouth, as well as helping to protect against further plaque build-up when you drink fluoridated water.
7. Regular dental visits
Visiting the dentist every 6 to 12 months for a routine check-up improves the chance of gum recession being caught and treated earlier, as your dentist or hygienist will be able to spot the signs before they become obvious.
Regular check-ups and professional cleans can also help lower your risk of developing related oral health problems such as gum disease. Due for a check-up and clean? Book an appointment at your nearest practice below.
Can gum recession be treated?
Gums that have already receded can’t grow back naturally, but your dentist might discuss gum grafting procedures if you want to replace lost gum tissue, reduce sensitivity and restore the appearance of your gums.
Gum grafting involves transplanting tissue over the exposed areas of teeth and sculpting a new gum line. Your dentist may use tissue from other areas of your mouth or a synthetic substitute.
An alternative to gum grafting is applying a tooth-coloured composite resin over exposed tooth roots. This can reduce their sensitivity and protect them against further damage, but it won’t improve the appearance of receded gums.
Gum recession and gum grafting in Perth
If you need to see a dentist about receding gums, contact our team to find out more about prevention and treatment options.
Implant dentist, Dr David Norcross of Perth Dental Implant Centre is able to provide gum grafting treatments in preparation for placing dental implants.
For all other gum treatments, we invite you to consult with one of our general dentists from Kelmscott Dental or EVP Dental in East Victoria Park. Call 1300 108 133 to book at our Kelmscott or East Vic Park clinic.