If you’ve ever regretted taking a bite of a frozen popsicle or a sip of your favorite cold beverage because your teeth were so sensitive then you might be suffering from gum recession. Gum recession is the movement of your gum tissue exposing the more sensitive roots of your teeth. In addition, other symptoms of gum recession include teeth with a yellow or dark base, teeth appearing longer or uneven due to more of the root showing, and sometimes sore gums or even loose teeth.
Gum recession is a common problem. Studies report that over 50% of Americans 30 years of age or older have at least one tooth affected by gum recession. You may not notice recession or believe it to be an issue because it happens gradually and oftentimes is not painful. Many accept recession to be a normal part of aging when in fact it is not.
So what causes gum recession and how can it be prevented?
The two most common causes of gum recession pertain to how you are cleaning your teeth. If you aren’t cleaning your teeth well enough, the bacteria sitting around the gum line can cause gum disease which leads to the loss of gum tissue and even the supporting bone around your teeth. However, overzealous cleaning of your teeth can cause trauma to the gum tissue and also make the gums recede. Understanding what causes recession can help you take steps in preventing or slowing down this disease. Here are a few tips to stay ahead of recession:
∙ Brush Often: It is recommended that you brush your teeth at least twice every day for two minutes at each time. Flossing once a day is also recommended to remove the bacteria from in between your teeth.
∙ Brush Gently: How you brush is just as important as how often you brush. Small vertical or circular strokes are recommended over horizontal strokes. Light pressure is all that is needed. If your knuckles are blanching when you brush, you are likely brushing too hard.
∙ Brush With: A soft or extra soft toothbrush is always recommended for daily brushing. Electric toothbrushes often do an efficient job at removing bacteria from around your teeth without being too harsh to the gum tissue. Replacing your toothbrush every 3 months is also recommended. Waiting for the free toothbrush your dentist gives you every 6 months may not be the best thing for your teeth and gums. The type of toothpaste has also been shown to affect gum recession. In general, whitening toothpastes are more abrasive than sensitive toothpastes.
So what should I do if my gums are receding?
Gum recession may be a sign that more serious problems are beginning or already exist. Gum recession often indicates the presence of gum disease which is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in the world. If you notice any of the symptoms of gum recession, it is recommended that you either ask your dentist about it or visit a periodontist. A periodontist is a dentist that has extensive training to specialize in treating the foundation of the teeth: the gums, jaw bone, and roots of teeth. Various treatment options exist to treat gum recession depending on the severity and the concerns you might have about the recession. Although some dentists might recommend placing a filling on the exposed root to mask the recession, this often does not improve the foundation of the teeth nor treat the underlying cause of recession. The goals for treating recession should be to strengthen the foundation of gum tissue around the teeth and possibly improve the appearance of the teeth by covering the exposed roots. Gum regeneration procedures are the most stable and natural treatment for gum recession. A newer, more innovative technique called Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation ™ allows a periodontist to treat gum recession with less discomfort and faster recovery.
Tulsa Dental Implants and Periodontics exists to help patients achieve their goals for a healthier mouth and a more beautiful smile. We are the only practice in Tulsa with two board certified periodontists and offer the most comfortable, predictable, innovative techniques including Pinhole Gum Rejuvenation ™ . Choose health for your mouth and give us a call today to learn more. You’ll be glad you did!
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8006 S 101st E. Ave. Ste. B Tulsa, OK 74133