“Receding gums” means the gums pull back from the teeth and is often a result of improper oral care. When the gums start to recede, your teeth can become more sensitive and even painful — especially with hot and cold drinks/foods. The teeth may also look longer than usual, with the potential for the tooth roots to become exposed.
The primary causes of receding gums:
Gum disease is one of the most common reasons for gums to pull away from the teeth. When bacteria and plaque buildup in the mouth, this can lead to inflammation and infection. Once you have pockets of infection developing between the roots of the teeth and the gums, you may see the gums begin to pull away. If you have receding gums, it can be a prime sign that you have gum disease.
You do not need to brush your teeth hard to remove bacteria and plaque. If you brush too hard you can harm the tooth enamel and irritate the gum tissue. This irritation increases the risk from gum recession. You should look to brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush to help prevent gum recession caused by aggressive brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush.
More commonly referred to as teeth grinding, bruxism can also be a cause of receding gums. While most people may be aware of the potential harm to the teeth and jaw from the extra stress caused by grinding of the teeth, the increased risk of gum recession is probably not so obvious.
However, teeth grinding can result in inflammation of the gum tissue, increasing the risk of gum recession. This inflammation can also worsen existing gum disease, a prime cause of receding gums.
Teeth which are misaligned can be harder to clean. When you have crooked teeth or crowded teeth. it is difficult to clean all around the teeth and gums and ensure they are properly cleaned. This increases the risk of a build-up of bacteria and plaque in these hard-to-reach areas, and therefore increases the risk from gum disease. Misaligned teeth also place additional stresses on the gum tissue and can make it more difficult for gum tissue to remain in situ.
The gums are important in helping protect your teeth. If you notice they are more sensitive and painful, book an appointment with your dentist who can assess the cause. Once the reason is understood, your dentist can advise on the best treatment course.