What Causes Gum Recession?

Poor oral hygiene has other consequences than getting bad breath. Advanced gum disease can also cause a wide variety of dental problems, including tooth sensitivity and pain, and without treatment, tooth loss there may be eventual tooth loss. Unfortunately, because gum recession happens so gradually, there may be no symptoms until it is quite advanced. By the time gum recession is very severe, it is irreversible.

A number of things cause gum recession, but poor oral hygiene is almost always a factor. Bacterial gum infections manifest from inadequate oral hygiene and not seeing the dentist for regular checkups. As these infections destroy gum tissue, supporting jawbone keeping your teeth in place begins to shrink. Left untreated, the damage caused by gum recession snowballs into further oral health troubles.

Symptoms of gum recession include:

  • Pain and sensitivity: Gum recession causes exposure of the tooth roots. This makes your teeth very sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, and it may be difficult to chew food. Gums may feel tender to the touch, appear red and swollen, and they bleed easily.
  • Loose teeth: If the gums recede to a certain point, the teeth may become looser, which results from bacteria buildup under the gums. As the gum pockets deepen, there is less of the tooth structure for the gums to adhere to, and the teeth may become so loose they fall out.
  • Changing appearance: Gum recession is the result of the gum tissue wearing away and exposing more of the tooth roots, making the teeth appear longer than usual. There may be gaps between the gums and the tooth itself, causing bacteria to build up and leaving the individual at risk of further gum recession.

Treatment for Gum Recession

Mild cases of gum recession focus on prevention, and your dentist may want to monitor you to check for further oral health problems. Your dentist may recommend a root scaling and planing teeth cleaning (“deep cleaning”) to access the plaque and tartar underneath the gumline, and prescribe antibiotics to kill the remaining bacteria. Once you’ve had a deep cleaning, you’ll need more frequent checkups called periondontal maintenance cleanings about every 3 to 4 months.

For moderate to severe gum recession, you will need more extensive treatment; however, damage to the gums cannot be undone. If a deep cleaning cannot sufficiently treat gum recession because of bone loss and deep pockets, you may require gum surgery from an oral surgeon.

Gum Recession Prevention

Most causes of gum recession are preventable, because the primary contributing factor to gum recession is advanced gum disease, known as periodontitis. Other causes, such as smoking, also cause sticky buildup on the teeth that can cause gum recession.

The best way to prevent gum recession is to practice good oral hygiene. By using a soft-bristled toothbrush twice a day for 2 minutes at a time, you can take control of your oral health. Make sure to floss once a day, too, as plaque between teeth can only be removed through flossing. Regular dental checkups every 6 months (or more, if needed) also ensure your mouth is healthy and problems can be addressed before they become irreversible.

Call us today at (770) 467-3888 to reach the Austell Dental Associates team and schedule your appointment.


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