Ask The Dentist: Are My Gums Receding? If So, Why?
Gum recession is often considered a normal part of aging. Even the expression "long in the tooth" stems from our gum line receding and exposing more of our teeth as we age.
However, there is nothing normal about gum recession. Luckily, for most of us, it can be prevented.
There is a host of factors that contribute to the erosion of your gumline, a vast majority are preventable.
The Biggest Offenders
- Clenching or grinding your teeth
- Misaligned teeth (crowding or spacing)
- Over-vigorous, or improper brushing
- Aggressive flossing
- Exposure to acids in drinks, such as sodas and energy or sports drinks
- Tobacco use
- The frequent use of whitening products
All the above causes of gum loss can be prevented.
All of them.
If you grind your teeth or if Dr. Carroll sees evidence of wear along the gumline, wear an occlusal or bite guard.
If your teeth are not aligned properly, Dr. Carroll will discuss ways to move the teeth to allow for the proper function that will intern reduce recession.
If you brush vigorously with a hard-bristled toothbrush, learn proper techniques from our hygienists - Nicole and Jamie. The most important lesson is gentle gumline brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush or consider an electric toothbrush.
If you bleed a lot when you floss, you may be flossing too aggressively. Again, Nicole and Jamie will assist you in proper flossing techniques.
If you smoke, drink too many energy drinks or soda, use whitening products all the time or chew tobacco; cut back, or stop altogether.
The most proactive step is to visit River Street Dental. In fact, if you're going regularly, your dentist has been monitoring the recession for some years now.
The first sign of gum recession is usually tooth sensitivity, so be on the lookout. Reduce, or eliminate the above-discussed habits, and ask Dr. Carroll how you're doing in terms of taking care of your gums. Sensitivity toothpastes are of great assistance for teeth that are sensitive due to recession. Dr. Carroll often recommends that you use sensitivity toothpaste as a salve along the gums lines where recession has taken place.
With a little bit of knowledge and proactive behavior, no one will ever say you're long in the tooth. And, that's a good thing!