How to Fix Receding Gums: Treatment and Prevention

Posted on: April 18, 2020 | Patient Education

If you notice a sore spot at the top of your tooth near the gum line, you may have receding gums. When your gums recede, they expose a bit of the tooth root, which can cause sensitivity to touch, and hot and cold foods. Receding gums are common, however there are ways to fix receding gums and prevent this condition.

How to Fix Receding Gums: Treatment and Prevention

To know how to fix receding gums and to prevent the condition from coming back, it’s important to first understand what causes receding gums. There are a variety of factors that can cause receding gums, and knowing which factors are affecting your gums will help you determine the best treatment options.

What Causes Receding Gums?

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is one of the most common causes of receding gums. When bacteria build up in between the gums, they cause inflammation. The gums become darker red, instead of a healthy pink, and they may feel slightly puffy and sensitive. As bacteria continue to irritate the gums, they deepen the spaces between the gums and the teeth. As this happens, the gums begin to recede.

How to Fix Receding Gums Caused by Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease occurs most often due to a lack of brushing, flossing and dental visits. Diligently brushing twice a day and flossing once a day will help to remove bacteria. Reducing your intake of sugary foods, or drinking water along with sugary foods, will also help. Smoking and tobacco use is also linked to periodontal disease, so quitting tobacco is also good for your oral health. Finally, your dentist can remove plaque that might get missed during brushing and flossing. Making regular dental appointments will also help to fix receding gums, and treat and prevent periodontal disease.

Brushing Too Hard

Brushing your teeth can quickly become an automatic part of your routine, and it’s easy to get distracted while you brush. If you’re under a lot of stress, you might not notice that you’re brushing your teeth harder than you need to. This puts extra pressure and stress on your gums, and can cause your gums to recede.

You might notice your gums receding only on a few teeth, or only on one side of your mouth. If this is the case—and you don’t see evidence of inflammation or other symptoms of periodontal disease—you may be brushing your teeth harder on one side of your mouth. You probably won’t even notice you’re doing this.

How to Fix Receding Gums Caused by Brushing Too Hard

The obvious solution to fix receding gums in this case is to stop brushing so hard. This may be easier said than done, especially if you don’t notice that you’re doing it. When you brush your teeth, especially when you start, be mindful of the pressure that you’re using. Focus just on brushing your teeth, and avoid letting your mind wander. You might also switch to a different toothbrush, such as a soft-bristled brush or an electric toothbrush.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes can make gums more vulnerable. The most common instance of this is pregnancy gingivitis, where rapidly changing hormones can suppress the immune response, or affect the gums’ ability to heal. These hormonal changes not only make gingivitis more common, but they can also cause gum recession.

How to Fix Receding Gums Caused by Hormonal Changes

You probably can’t change your body’s natural hormonal response, whatever the cause may be. However, this also means that receding gums due to hormonal changes is temporary. The best way to treat receding gums caused by hormonal changes is to look after your oral health diligently. Brush twice daily, floss at least once daily, drink lots of water, and use mouthwash after meals. This will prevent bacteria from building up and help keep your gums from receding.

Bruxism

Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, puts pressure on your teeth and gums. This can cause your gums to pull away from your teeth and recede. You probably won’t notice that you’re grinding your teeth. Many people suffer from nighttime teeth grinding, and aren’t even awake while they’re doing it. Other people grind their teeth during the day, but still don’t notice. Bruxism is usually caused by stress. If you are grinding your teeth, you might notice soreness in your teeth and jaw, as well as receding gums.

How to Fix Receding Gums Caused by Bruxism

The best way to fix receding gums caused by bruxism is to find and eliminate the source of stress that is causing you to grind your teeth. If this isn’t possible, you might also try a mouth guard. This will soften the pressure between your teeth, and lessen the impacts of bruxism on your teeth and gums.

Injury or Infection

An injury to your mouth or jaw or an infection around a tooth can also cause gums to recede. This might be due to a sports injury, an accident, an untreated infection, a dead tooth, irritation from badly-fitting partial dentures, or irritation from a tongue or lip piercing. In this case, gum tissue might be lost, and it will be difficult to treat this problem without the help of a professional.

How to Fix Receding Gums Caused by Injury or Infection

If your gums have receded extensively in one area, a gum graft can repair this damage. This is a surgical procedure that removes gum tissue from one part of your mouth to replace the lost tissue around your tooth. This procedure is generally used only when gum recession is serious and the lost gum tissue threatens the health of the tooth.

The best way to fix receding gums is to start treating the problem right when you notice it. If your teeth are sensitive near your gums and you notice a slight groove where your gums have receded, your tooth roots are exposed. Brush and floss diligently (but gently!), avoid sugary foods, drink lots of water, and schedule a dental cleaning every six months. If this problem is minor, your gums will heal over time and return to their normal position. If it gets worse, this will be harder to fix. If you have receding gums and you’re unsure about the cause or solutions, make an appointment with a dentist today.

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