Gum recession is when the edge of the gum tissue pulls back or wears away, leaving a greater portion of the tooth root unprotected. Tooth roots are not covered by enamel so they appear darker, are more sensitive to heat and cold, and are more vulnerable to decay.
When gum recession occurs, small gaps known as pockets form between the gum line and the teeth, creating spaces where harmful bacteria can accumulate. These bacteria can not only erode teeth causing cavities, but also destroy the surrounding jawbone area, eventually leading to tooth loss. These bacteria have also been linked to many other health issues such as Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke to name a few.
In addition, the correct amount of healthy, pink gum tissue is also a major part of having an attractive smile. Therefore, gum recession can affect cosmetic, comfort, and health issues.
There are numerous factors that can lead to gum recession. Surprisingly perhaps to many people, is that brushing teeth too hard, or with a brush that’s too firm can cause abrasion that can eventually wear away this vital gum tissue. Alternately, inadequate brushing and flossing can lead to periodontal disease, which is another leading cause of gum recession.
The force of teeth when they meet can affect gum recession. Those who clench or grind their teeth, or whose teeth are misaligned or crooked may create excessive or uneven force on gums and bone causing gums to recede. In addition, jewelry piercing of the lip, cheek, or tongue can rub gum tissue away.
Hormonal changes caused by puberty, pregnancy, or menopause can also have an impact on gums, leaving women more vulnerable to recession at certain times during their lives. Additionally, some lifestyle choices such as the use of tobacco products or repetitive chewing of hard objects such as ice or pencils can increase the risk of recession.
Another important factor can be poorly fitting oral appliances, such as dentures, braces, or retainers. When they don’t fit correctly, gums can be damaged by the appliance rubbing against the gums.
If you believe that you may be experiencing gum recession, it’s important to consult a dental professional for early detection and treatment and Dr. Heidi Finkelstein at My Plantation Dentist can help. To schedule your appointment, please contact us today at 954-584-1030.