Gum Receding: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Last updated on July 15th, 2022

Healthy gum (gingival tissue) is vital for dental health. Gums normally protect the root of the teeth from bacteria invasion. However, when you have receding gums, the protection gets weaker, and the tooth can start decaying in the root. As the part of the tooth under the gums is more vulnerable to external damage, the problem might develop rather quickly.

In this article, you will read and learn everything about gum receding including the symptoms, causes, and treatments, as well. 

gum recession closeup young woman showing bleeding gums

What Does Gum Receding Mean

Gum receding is a dental problem that many people suffer from. When there is a gum recession, the gum line wears away and pulls back, which means more tooth is exposed while you have less gum tissue around them. A common early sign of gum receding is tooth sensitivity, then patients usually notice their teeth look longer than normal. Although not all sensitivity issues are due to receding gums, you are still advised to see your dentist instead of ignoring the problem.

What Do Receding Gums Look Like?

Most people notice their receding gums along with tooth sensitivity, sensitive gums, or inflamed gums. In fact, you can notice your receding gum just by looking at the gum line and the size of the teeth exposed in the mirror. When you have gum recession, your teeth look longer than usual.

What Are The Symptoms Of Receding Gums? 

Most symptoms of receding gums are similar to any other gum disease. Here are some of the most common ones:

– red gum or gum bleeding upon brushing

– irritated gums 

gum pain especially on the receding gum line

– exposed teeth roots

– loose teeth

What Are The Causes Of Receding Gum?

The potential causes of gum receding might be one or more of the following:

– Periodontitis (gum disease)

– Genetic factors

– Brushing too hard

– Lack of dental hygiene

– Hormonal factors

– Smoking

Teeth grinding

How To Stop Receding Gums From Getting Worse?

Stopping the receding gums largely depends on the cause of it. Therefore, visiting your dentist should be the first thing you should consider if you think your gums are receding. However, there are still some ways to slow down the problem:

– Take care of dental hygiene

– Use a soft-bristled toothbrush

– Brush your teeth more gently

– Quit smoking

– Just to remind you again, see your dentist!

How To Treat Receding Gums?

Receding gum treatment options vary depending on the extent of the recession. Periodontal diseases such as gum receding are normally diagnosed by a dentist. Therefore, even if you notice some of the symptoms, you should get a professional diagnosis from your dentist. The diagnosis is carried out by using periodontal probing. Thereby, you can get a reliable evaluation of your case.

 If you are diagnosed with gum receding, the treatments are medications and surgery. 

Medication

If the gum recession has not progressed too far, a deep cleaning and certain medication might help you stop the recession of your gums. The medications are effective when there is an infection underlying the problem. The most commonly prescribed medications are:

– Antimicrobial mouthwash

– Topical antibiotic gels

– Antiseptic chips

– Enzyme suppressants

Surgery

If the recession has progressed already, medications cannot help much as gums will not grow back naturally. There are two types of surgery conducted in receding gum treatments, grafting and flap surgery.

In grafting surgery, the dentist aims to place a natural or synthetic tissue to replace your missing gum tissue. If the natural tissue is going to be used, the dentist takes some healthy gum tissue from the mouth roof and places it in the problematic area. Depending on the amount and quality of the existing gum tissue in the patient’s mouth, your dentist can choose among different grafting options such as connective tissue graft, free gingival graft, or lateral (pedical) graft. Also, if you have misaligned or lost a tooth due to receding gums, you can get cosmetic dentistry once your problem with the gums is eliminated.

Flap surgery is an advanced form of deep cleaning. In this treatment, your dentist pulls up the existing gums and cleans the tissue and bone structure underneath to remove the plaque and tartar so that bacteria can find no place to stay there anymore. Finally, the dentist places the gum tissue back in its place.

Note that regardless of the surgery type, you should pay an extra effort to take care of your oral hygiene afterward. Otherwise, you might face the same problem again in the future.

FAQs About Receding Gums 

Here are a bunch of questions and answers that you might like to read about gum receding.

Can Gums Grow Back After Receding?

No, they can’t grow back once it has receded unless you get a grafting surgery.

At What Age Do Gums Start Receding?

Gum receding becomes more apparent after the age of 40. However, one cannot argue that it starts after 40, and aging is a factor in itself. In fact, the problem starts even in the teenage years, and it gets more obvious in adulthood. 

What Toothpaste Is Best For Receding Gums?

If you are suffering from gum receding, toothpaste choice is of greater importance for you. Your toothpaste should have stannous fluoride, which reduces the bacteria and inflammation in the gums. Parodontax Clean Mint Toothpaste, Colgate Total Gel, Corsodyl and  Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum are leading toothpaste products on the market that you can prefer for gum health.

What Vitamins Should I Take For Receding Gums?

Vitamin C and Vitamin D are some of the most important vitamins that you should take for the well-being of your gums.

Does Mouthwash Help Prevent Receding Gums?

Yes, it does. A good mouthwash can remove the bacteria on your gums.

Does Salt Water Help Prevent Receding Gums?

Yes. Mixing a teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water, and rinsing the mouth with this water can reduce the bacteria and heal the inflammation in the gums.

SOURCES

https://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(14)63227-X/fulltext

https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/receding_gums_causes-treatments

https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-oral-health-receding-gums#diagnosis

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