Preventing receding gums is vital to the overall health of your teeth. More than 75 percent of Americans over 35 have some form of gum disease. With millions of microorganisms always on the move, the mouth is a hectic place.
Harris Interactive Inc. recently did a survey of 1000 adults, and found that 60 percent of them knew little, if anything, about gum disease, the warning signs, available treatments, and, most importantly – the consequences.
Gum disease starts when bacteria-containing plaque builds up on the teeth and gums. It usually begins as gingivitis: red or swollen gums that bleed easily. Receding gums is due to several factors, most of which are interconnected and multiply each other’s effects:
- Food between teeth and below your gums
- Insufficient brushing and flossing
- Stress is a key offender since it lowers the immune system
- Reduced resistance due to lack of sleep
- Poor diet
- Poor health
Why is oral hygiene so important?
Gum disease and tooth decay are both caused by the buildup of bacterial plaque. This plaque solidifies into a coarse, porous substance known as tartar if not vigilantly removed by daily brushing and flossing. Bacteria found in plaque manufacture toxins that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily.
Receding gums can also be caused by disease, imbalanced occlusion (the way your teeth fit together when you bite down), or trauma. When occlusion is imbalanced, too much force placed on the teeth can cause trauma to the bone and gums. Receding gums can also occur when teeth are crooked or fillings and crowns are placed without properly balancing the bite.
If you’re not preventing receding gums, the teeth appear much longer than usual. Recession does not look good, and it also exposes the sensitive root surface, which can make it difficult to enjoy hot or cold foods and drinks. This situation can be corrected in many cases by transplanting a small piece of gum tissue to cover the exposed root and thereby correct the appearance of long teeth.
Receding Gums Prevention Tips
Here are some of the best ways to go about preventing receding gums:
- Visit your dentist twice a year for professional cleaning and checking
- Frequently check the gums for color and signs of receding
- Brush properly after each meal and floss daily to prevent plaque from building up along and below the gum line
- Use a tongue cleaner to scrape clean the debris deposits on the tongue at least twice a day
- Avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol
- Avoid excessive consumption of sugar, starch and saturated fat, which wreak havoc on the teeth and gums
- Get enough Vitamin C – it plays a major role in preventing gum disease