Receeding gums that expose the root surfaces of teeth are a frequent occurrence in adults over the age of 40. They are in many cases caused by periodontal disease.
This gum disease is common in adults and it starts when bacteria containing plaque builds up on the teeth and gums.
Marked by red or swollen gums that bleed easily, gum disease in the early stages is reversible and can be identified and treated by your dentist or dental hygienist during regular health checks.
The underlying root surface of the tooth is exposed as the gum that normally covers it begins to shrink. Recession occurs because of damage to the gum tissue. Once the gum tissue is lost from the tooth surface, it will not usually grow back over it.
Some people have naturally thinner gum tissue covering the roots of the teeth and are more prone to the disease.
This is actually a loss of gum tissue and besides periodontal disease, the following practices can trigger it:
- Overaggressive brushing – frequently gum lines recede because of toothbrush abrasion.
- Insufficient brushing or flossing – by letting the bacteria lie in between the teeth, these microbes can build up.
If your lips are pierced you may get more than you bargained for. Researchers from Ohio State University say that lip piercing can lead to swollen gums and may make the problem worse.
They compared the gums of 29 young adults with pierced lips to those of 29 with lips that were not pierced. About 41% of those with pierced lips had gum problems. The jewelry rubs along the gum line, and the wear and tear can cause permanent damage.
Symptoms of Receeding Gums
- An unsightly smile due to exposure of the roots of the teeth.
- Sensitivity to hot or cold food items.
- Food getting stuck between the roots of adjacent teeth.
Swollen gums may be treated in relation to a few teeth, but treatment of all the teeth is not possible.
A graft from another part of the mouth may be the only option for treatment for those with gums that have severely receded. If your teeth and gums are healthy, the dentist may drill holes in the teeth and fill them with a material that keeps the gums from Receeding further.
Another method, not yet approved by the ADA, involves roughening the smooth surface of the teeth with a dental drill. Treating Receeding gums is important, not only for comfort, but to preserve the health of your teeth.