Receding gums can make it appear as if your tooth is longer, and while this can be a cosmetic concern, gum recession can compromise your oral health, too. When your gums recede, it can expose more of your tooth, including the tooth roots. This contributes to tooth sensitivity and increases your risk of infection.
So what can you do about gum recession? Our expert team at The Masters Dental Group in San Antonio, Texas, performs gum grafting to improve the health and appearance of your smile, but we also treat the underlying causes of gum recession.
Here, we take a closer look at what causes gum recession and what you can do about it.
Insufficient brushing and a lack of flossing increase your risk of gum recession. Brushing and flossing remove plaque, but plaque that isn’t removed can turn into tartar.
Tartar, also known as calculus, is hard and requires a professional cleaning to remove it. The longer calculus remains on your teeth, the more it irritates your gingiva, which is the gum tissue surrounding the base of your teeth. Irritated gums become inflamed and swollen, and they can pull away from your teeth.
Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease is a leading cause of gum recession. Infections that affect your gums and your jawbone can develop when plaque and tartar build up along your gumline.
When your gums are infected and inflamed, periodontal pockets form. As the pockets grow larger, your gums pull away from your tooth. Left untreated, gum disease causes bad breath, loose teeth, tooth loss, and bleeding gums.
Treatment for gum disease includes antibiotics, prescription mouthwash, and procedures such as root planing and scaling.
While a lack of proper tooth brushing can cause problems, so can aggressive brushing. Brushing too vigorously, using an abrasive toothpaste, and using a hard-bristled brush can damage your enamel and your delicate gum tissue.
Hormonal shifts can create gum issues, including increased gingivitis, the earliest form of gum disease. During pregnancy, for example, it’s even more important that you keep up with routine dental cleanings. Removing plaque and tartar can help reduce your risk of pregnancy-related gingivitis.
Smoking affects your oral health in many ways, including increasing your risk of developing oral cancer and gum disease. Smoking affects the oxygen in your bloodstream, and that makes it harder for gum infections to heal. In addition, smoking increases how much plaque you have, which means that gum disease and gum recession can escalate quickly.
One of the first steps in treating gum recession is to address the underlying cause, whether that’s treating gum disease, improving your at-home oral care routine, or smoking cessation.
In addition, our dentists may also recommend a gum graft. During this procedure, we use a tissue graft to replace the gum tissue that had receded. This protects your oral health by covering any exposed tooth roots, and it also boosts your self-confidence by restoring the appearance of your smile.
It’s never too soon to consider the health of your gums. Whether you just notice a little tenderness when you brush your teeth or you’re starting to see your tooth roots, give us a call.
You can reach us at 210-349-4424 to schedule your consultation today.