It used to be that receding gums were as much of an indicator of age as a receding hairline. Older individuals were described as being “long in the tooth.” Today, we understand much more about gum health. One of the major aspects of gum recession has been discovered is that it most certainly is not a normal part of aging.
Consequences of Gum Recession:
- When gums recede, they are not able to adhere to tooth structure as tightly as nature intended. Minor weakness and gingival tissue can cascade into quite a large problem. A weak hold against teeth creates an opening, quite literally, through which oral bacteria and plaque can accumulate. This sets the stage for gingivitis and periodontal disease.
- The accumulation of plaque and bacteria and hard-to-reach places makes it difficult to maintain fresh breath. This is why chronic bad breath is associated with gum disease.
- Typically, it is only the surfaces of teeth that are vulnerable to decay. However, when roots become exposed due to gum recession, this is just one more surface on which bacteria can cause damage in the form of cavities.
- Exposed roots mean more sensitive nerves beneath the surface. This manifests as sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures in the mouth.
Gum Recession: Why?
The presence of mild infection, a.k.a. gum disease, is one of the leading causes of gum recession. However, this delicate tissue is susceptible to degradation from a number of key factors. These include:
Smoking and chewing tobacco. As tobacco products degrade connective tissue in the gums, weakness in the bond between teeth and his protective layer of tissue occurs.
Lack of hygiene. When teeth are neglected for even a 24 hour period, plaque buildup becomes noticeable. Because plaque harbors bacteria, its accumulation is dangerous to the overall health of the gums.
Too much hygiene. If you are one who likes your mouth to feel ultra-clean, the idea of neglecting your brushing and flossing duties may cause a shiver down your spine. All your teeth need is gentle brushing and flossing on a daily basis; morning and night. Aggressive force is neither necessary nor healthy. When you abrade your gums, you may suffer the same consequences as someone who doesn’t brush very often.
We enjoy helping our patients achieve the highest possible level of oral health. For assistance with gum recession, contact us.