While a receding hairline is often noticed more quickly than a receding gum line, gum recession is a very important dental health topic that needs your attention. Gum recession may cause tooth sensitivity in some people, while others do not have any symptoms at all. While you may think gum recession is okay to overlook, it can lead to tooth loss if you ignore its progression. Discovering what is causing your gum recession is the first step towards proper treatment.
What are Receding Gums?
Gum recession is the process by which the margin of the tissue that surrounds the teeth wears away toward the tooth root. This process will gradually expose more tooth over time. Not sure what is causing your gums to recede? Here is a look at some top causes of gum recession:
- Periodontal diseases: This is the primary cause of gum recession. Periodontal disease refers to a bacterial infection in the gum that destroys your gum tissue and the supporting bone that holds your teeth in place. Since gum recession can be the first sign of gum disease, it should always be addressed with your dentist.
- Heredity: Your gum recession or gum disease problem may be in your genes. In fact, studies show that 30% of the population may be predisposed to gum disease, regardless of how diligent they are with their oral hygiene.
- Brushing Too Hard: Using aggressive brush strokes or brushing the wrong way can cause your gums to recede (and your enamel to wear away).
- Poor Oral Hygiene: If you are slacking on your brushing and flossing routine, you are making it easy for plaque to convert to a harder substance called tartar, which can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning. A tartar (or calculus) buildup between your teeth can cause gum recession over time.
- Hormonal changes: Female hormone fluctuations (such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause) can cause gums to be more sensitive, inflamed and vulnerable to recession.
- Smoking: Regular use of tobacco products greatly increases your chances for gum recession. These products contain ingredients that can irritate tissues in the mouth and cause inflammation, which leads to the detachment of the gums from tooth surfaces.
- Too much force in your bite: If you place too much pressure or force on your teeth and gums, from either clenching, grinding or a misaligned bite, your gums may start to recede.