Gum health is one of the primary topics discussed in dentistry today. Dentists and their patients are fortunate to have a far greater extent of knowledge than previous generations. Still, there may be a slight misunderstanding when it comes to the issue of gum recession. In decades past, a receding gum line was viewed no more uncommon that a receding hairline in the older adult. Today, we know that gum recession is not an age-related condition. We also recognize the reasons why we should want to avoid it.
Gum recession: the Domino Effect
Just like your teeth, your gums play in important role in the appearance of your smile. At the same time, the gums are also intended to be functional in terms of chewing and the general state of oral health. When gums recede, there are several consequences.
- The weakness of gum tissue is an opportunity for plaque buildup. When this biofilm develops around teeth, pockets form around them as well.
- Hidden plaque and bacteria are not entirely inconspicuous. Micro organisms make themselves known, often through your breath. Chronic bad breath is one of the primary, and often most disturbing, consequences of gum recession and gingivitis.
- Receding gums are an inadequate layer of protection for teeth roots. Without coverage from the gums, roots become susceptible to decay, no different than any other accessible tooth surface.
- The exposure that occurs when gums recede also makes underlying nerves more intensely responsive. This translates into unpleasant tooth sensitivity.
Uncovering the Causes of Gum Recession
Typically, gum recession is discussed in the same conversation as gum disease. For this reason it can be easy to miss the other factors that threaten gum health.
Tobacco use is unhealthy for a number of reasons. The direct contact between tobacco, nicotine, and other chemicals and the gums is especially dangerous. Without adequate oxygenation, these connective tissues lose their hold around teeth. As they weaken, recession progresses.
Poor oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing are also aspects of oral health that are routinely discussed during dental visits. This is because plaque accumulates very quickly; within a 24 hour timeframe. Forgetting to brush or floss leads to recession, as well as an increased risk for infection.
Aggressive hygiene can be just as bad as forgetting about this important practice. The tissue around your teeth is delicate and should be handled accordingly. Brushing with intensity is far different than brushing and flossing mindfully. Toss out the hard-bristled brush! Use gentle technique. Your gums will thank you.
Gum health and compasses more than the avoidance of gingivitis and periodontal disease. We can also help you manage the issue of recession. Call 703-448-1020.