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Have you ever noticed your gum moving away from your tooth?

Most times, the receding gums can be so embarrassing that you can’t confidently smile among your peers. That unusual sensitivity you feel sometimes when you drink cold water might be due to a receding gum. That loose teeth may be due to gum recession. Read on as we take you through what receding gum is, the causes, how to prevent it and how it can be treated.

What is a Receding Gum?

A receding gum or gum recession is a condition whereby the gum is separated or pulled away from the tooth/teeth thereby exposing more of the tooth and the roots.

What are the causes of Gum Recession?

The following are the major causes of gum recession:

Periodontal Diseases

  • These are gum infections, caused by bacteria, that destroy gum tissue and the bone that holds your teeth in place. Periodontal disease is the main cause of gum recession.
Gum Disease

Early stages of gum disease can be seen with minor symptoms that include:

  • Red, swollen, or purple gums
  • Gums that feel painful to the touch
  • Bleeding gums
  • Chronic bad breath

It’s not uncommon to develop gum recession because either of your parents had a similar thing. So it can run in a family. In fact, 30% of the population may be predisposed to gum disease, even if they take good care of their teeth.

Illustration of a long shadow tooth icon with a DNA sign

Brushing Too Hard
If you brush your teeth too aggressively or incorrectly, it can cause your tooth’s enamel to wear away and your gums to recede.

Poor Dental Care
Inadequate brushing, flossing, and rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash, can make it easy for plaque to turn into tartar, a hard substance that forms on and between your teeth and can only be removed by a professional tooth cleaning.

Hormone Levels
Changes in estrogen levels over a woman’s life, like puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, can make gums increasingly sensitive and vulnerable to gum recession.

Tobacco Products
Smokers, and other tobacco users, are more likely to develop sticky plaque which can cause gum recession.

Grinding And Clenching Your Teeth
Clenching or grinding your teeth can exert too much force on the teeth, causing gums to recede.

Crooked Teeth Or A Misaligned Bite
When teeth don’t come together evenly, too much force can be exerted on the gums and surrounding bone, allowing gums to recede.

What are the symptoms of a Receding Gum?

As receding gums progress over time, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Long Teeth: One symptom is the visible lengthening of the teeth. When gums recede because of periodontal disease, the teeth have the appearance of being much longer than normal.
  • Exposed Roots: Exposed roots are another symptom, and can be extremely sensitive and uncomfortable. They are often a sign of periodontal disease or can be attributed to brushing overly aggressively with a toothbrush with hard bristles.
  • Loose Teeth: When suffering from receding gums, you may notice loose teeth, attributed to the bacteria and periodontal disease under the gums around the teeth. As receding gums worsen, the gum pockets deepen due to loss of attachment structure.

What you can do to prevent gum recession

  • Learn proper brushing methods

Many individuals don’t realize they brush improperly. Many individuals brush too aggressively. You should use a toothbrush that’s not too abrasive and gentle toothpaste. Brush your teeth gently and be sure to brush at the gum line too. Your dentist or hygienist can show you proper techniques of toothrushing.

How to brush
  •  Prevent gum disease

Gum disease is more common in adults, but children can develop it too. Your biggest goal should be to avoid gum disease and strive for healthy gums. Brush and floss your teeth daily to prevent gum disease. You should also brush after each meal or snack, preferably. Brush your teeth with a high-quality toothbrush and get a new brush every twelve weeks.

  • Avoid using tobacco

This includes both smoking and smokeless tobacco products.

  • Ask about a custom night guard

If you’re grinding or clenching your teeth, ask your dentist about a custom night guard  This appliance helps protect your teeth and gums against the damaging effects of teeth grinding. It can help deliver even pressure across your jaw as well as keep your bottom and top teeth from rubbing against each other. 

  • Visit the dentist routinely

Make sure you schedule and keep your dental appointments. The dentist can detect and treat early signs of gum recession.

What are the treatment options?

  • Root planing

A common method of treating slight recession is known as root planing. Root planing is a deep cleaning of your teeth below the gumline. It particularly focuses on plaque and bacteria removal from your teeth in the pockets that surround the roots of your teeth and under your gum line.

Root planing

  • Gum Grafting

For more severe recession cases, the dentist may suggest a gum graft for repairing damaged gum tissue and restoring a healthy mouth. With gum grafting, the dentist surgically removes the diseased or damaged gum tissue and grafts sections of healthy and delicate gum tissue in place to restore the impacted areas.
Gum Graft Surgery

The basic rule of thumb to preventing receding gum is to visit your dentist as soon as possible. The earlier you see your dentist, the better receding gum can be managed.


Dental Choice


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