When looking in the mirror, you can tell you have a healthy mouth when your gums are nice and pink. Plus, they’ll cover the amount of teeth they are supposed to. As you age, though, your gums will change, and they will no longer look like the ones you used to see.
Even in healthy mouths, gum recession occurs; it happens no matter what and is irreversible. Your gums will naturally recede to expose tooth roots, which will make your teeth much more sensitive to cold, brushing, and sugar. Gum recession will also change the appearance of your teeth.
Causes of Gum Recession
Like most other body parts, gums change as we age. However, the process can be sped up with the indulgence of bad habits. Apart from aging, here are some things that can cause gum recession:
1) Aggressive brushing or flossing: We know the feeling of fuzzy teeth can be annoying, but there’s no need to aggressively brush or floss them away. It’s good to be enthusiastic about good oral health care, but you should brush, not scrub. You need to be gentle on your teeth, and remember that taking care of them isn’t supposed to hurt.
2) Tooth positioning: If you teeth aren’t positioned properly and an abnormality is present, gum recession can occur.
3) Periodontal disease: When you have gum disease, a large amount of bacteria is present in your mouth. This bacteria destroys the gums and support that hold your teeth in place. If periodontal disease isn’t treated, it can continue to recede your gums to the point where surgery may be needed.
How to Slow Receding Gums
As we mentioned before, gums naturally recede, but you can do your part to slow down the process. Here are some tips to help keep your gums in pristine shape:
1) Learn brushing techniques: Do you know if your brushing form is above average or below average? Many people don’t realize their brushing may be too aggressive. You should be using a gentle toothpaste and toothbrush that aren’t too abrasive. When you brush, do so gently. You want to brush the tops of your teeth at the gum line. If you need more clarification, ask your dentist at your next visit.
Related: Can Flossing Replace Brushing?
2) Put acidic food and drinks down: They may seem enticing, but acidic foods and drinks accelerate gum recession. The enamel on our teeth is more resistant to these acids, but the dentin in the roots isn’t. When exposed to drinks like soda, wine, and orange juice, the roots of our teeth can be dramatically damaged in a short period of time. Try watering these juices down.
3) Prevent gum disease: If you want healthy gums all the way around, avoiding gum disease should be your goal. To prevent gum disease, floss and brush every single day, and preferably after every time you have a meal or snack. Make sure you are brushing with a high-quality toothbrush, and throw it away every four weeks for a manual brush (or every three months for an electric one). After this point, the bristles will be so worn that they won’t remove much from your teeth.
Preventing Gum Recession
Gum recession can be a painful experience. Although it can’t be stopped entirely, it can be slowed. If you brush thoroughly, properly, and gently, plus abstain from acidic food and drink, you can keep your gums in great condition.