Why Are My Gums Receding?

Gum recession is a common dental problem that we treat at Newberg Family Dental. If you look in the mirror and see that one tooth looks longer than another, or if you have teeth that are becoming especially sensitive, you may be at the beginning of gum recession.

Gum recession, or when gum tissue begins to pull away from the surface of a tooth, is an indication of periodontal disease. This process, which happens gradually over time, causes gaps called “pockets” to form between teeth and the gumline. These pockets trap bacteria which form plaque, which hardens into tartar and calculus. Left untreated, this condition can lead to tooth loss as well as the deterioration of the jaw bone.

What Causes Receding Gums?

Receding gums are the end result of a variety of different problems, some of which seldom cause a person to experience pain.

  • Periodontal (gum) disease is caused by bacteria in plaque destroying the gum tissue and bone attachment for the teeth. As the support for the teeth is destroyed, the bone lowers and the gums will follow, exposing the roots of the teeth. Periodontal disease is the number one reason people over age 30 experience tooth loss.
  • A more subtle cause of gum recession is caused by a misalignment of the teeth. This in turn creates an excessive force on the teeth that will strip the gum tissues away from the teeth. Often times one will also see a v-shaped notching on the sides of the roots as well.
  • Predisposition to gum disease may lead to recession of gum tissue. Be especially on your guard if family members are dealing with periodontal disease involving receding gums.
  • Tobacco use can cause an excessive build-up of plaque and tartar that is difficult to remove, causing gum tissue to recede.
  • Teeth grinding or clenching the jaw can put too much pressure on the teeth, which can cause gums to recede.

Gum recession results in the exposure of the roots of teeth, which causes teeth to be more sensitive and also decay easily. More importantly, they are an early warning of serious dental issues that may lead to tooth loss.

Treatment for Gum Recession

Gum recession can be treated in order to prevent the progression of periodontal disease. The first step is a preventative dental procedure called scaling and root planing, which is a method of deep cleaning of both the teeth and the gums to get rid of harmful bacteria.

If required, surgery can be completed in order to treat gum recession and periodontal disease. These procedures include pocket reduction, soft tissue gum grafting and regeneration for both gum tissue and jaw bone. Only consulting a dentist like Dr. Jennifer McLeod at Newberg Family Dental can help determine which procedure is the best for your needs.

Preventing Gum Recession

Like many other dental issues,preventative dental care can go a long way toward a healthy mouth. There are several ways that you can help prevent gum recession:

  • Visit dentist in Newberg OR Dr. Jennifer McLeod
  • Stop smoking or using other tobacco products
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Brush with a soft-bristled tooth brush twice a day
  • Don’t forget to floss!