Why are My Gums Receding?

smiling woman with receding gums

Gum recession happens over time, so you may not notice it at first. But, if it seems like your gums are getting shorter or your teeth are growing longer, it is important to see your dentist.   Quick action can prevent long term problems like tooth loss and even possible gum surgeries.

Gums protect and insulate your teeth. When they recede, new areas of teeth become exposed at their thinnest point where the nerve of the tooth is not far from the surface. This can lead to sensitivity, pain, and root cavities that threaten the life of your tooth.

There are several reasons that you may be experiencing gum recession.  The most common ones are:

Periodontal Gum Disease – this bacterial infection damages and eats away at the gums and bone that support your teeth.  It is the number one cause of tooth loss and is also linked as a potential causative factor for major conditions like diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.

Tobacco Use – smoking or chewing tobacco puts your gums in direct contact with tobacco and the toxins and chemicals it contains.

Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth (Bruxism) –  your teeth flex back and forth when under the heavy pressure caused by grinding and this leads to both tooth and gum damage.

Brushing Too Hard – we are taught that scrubbing things gets them cleaner, but when it comes to your teeth and gums a gentle approach is better.  Using a soft bristled brush and a light touch will keep your mouth healthy.

Misaligned Teeth – when teeth do not line up properly there are areas of your mouth that have to withstand extra pressure and stress.  This can cause receding gums, tooth damage, and make you more susceptible to gum disease.

Irritation – if dental appliances, mouth jewelry, or partial dentures rub against your gums they can cause permanent damage over time.

Lack of Dental Care – teeth and gums that are not cared for properly are more likely to become diseased or damaged.  Be sure to brush and floss daily and see your dentist and hygienist at least twice a year.

Receding gums are not to be taken lightly.  If you have any concerns about changes in your gums or are looking for a new dentist in the Knoxville area, we would love to help.  

Call (865) 922-1613 to schedule an appointment. Knoxville TN

We promise to take great care of you!

Photo courtesy Edward Cisneros

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