When gums pull back from the tooth surface, or when they drop to a lower position below the original gum line, this is called receding gums. Surprising to some, receding gums is a form of periodontal (gum) disease, and with multiple factors at play, receding gums do not happen overnight.
To gain a better understanding of receding gums, it’s important to consider the different stages of periodontal gum disease. This oral health condition most commonly begins with gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gum tissues that causes them to bleed. Ultimately, gingivitis signals the presence of a gum infection, most likely from the build up of plaque. As it progresses into periodontitis, a more serious form of infection, gum tissues may begin to loosen around teeth and fall back. As a pocket is formed, bacteria can invade teeth at a deeper level, and may ultimately lead to tooth loss.
Aside from gingivitis and periodontitis, the following, as reported by Healthline, can cause receding gums:
- Aggressive brushing over the long term
- Hardened plaque buildup (tartar)
- Hormonal Changes in Women
- Family History of Gum Disease
Also a contributor to receding gums is a condition called dry mouth. In short, dry mouth occurs when there is a shortage of saliva, which leads to a high presence of bacteria on teeth and gums. When left on gum tissues, bacteria interact with foods and beverages to develop lactic acid, which destroys gum tissues and weakens tooth enamel.
What To Look For
With a growing emphasis on patient education, dentists urge patients to pay attention to the early signs of periodontal gum disease, including receding gums. Here are some questions to ask:
- Do my gums bleed after brushing or flossing?
- Are my gums red or puffy?
- Do I experience bad breath?
- Do I experience pain near the gum line?
- Do my gums appear to be shrinking or exposing more of my teeth?
Is It Time For Your Dental Checkup?
At Pure Smiles Dentistry, we believe that a well cared for smile should last a lifetime. That’s why we aim to give our patients all of the resources they need to keep their teeth healthy. Regular dental checkups are one way to take advantage of these resources, while getting a much-needed checkup on your oral health. Is it time for your dental checkup? Dr. Sanil Patel and the team at Pure Smiles Dentistry welcome your call today!