What causes gum recession and how to slow it down.
Having receding gums is not uncommon and it is thought that nearly three quarters of the adult population of the UK have this to some degree.
It not only affects the appearance of your smile but can also lead to additional dental problems as the roots of the teeth become exposed.
Whilst some groups, such as older people, are more likely to see their gums recede (hence the saying ‘long in the tooth’), for most of us, taking action to minimise the risk of it happening in the first place, and, if it already has, slowing it down, are the best approaches to take.
What causes gum recession?
Receding gums can be caused by a number of factors. Genetics may play a part, but much if it comes down to the way that we look after our teeth.
Gum disease is a leading cause of this common problem, and it is important to make sure that you gently brush your gums, as well as cleaning your teeth. Angling your toothbrush will help to clean beneath the gum line, a common place for bacteria to build up. Whilst many symptoms of gum disease are quite noticeable, such as bleeding or sore gums, this is not always the case, and we strongly recommend that you see the dental hygienist at our Cheshunt practice at least twice a year to make sure that your gums are checked and helped to remain in good health.
Having said that keeping the gums clean is important, another common cause of receding gums is brushing too hard. The hygienist will be able to show you how to brush correctly, and we also recommend that you use an electric toothbrush which has a pressure sensor that cuts out if you press too hard.
Preventing further recession
From what we have said above, both hygienist visits and correct cleaning are important to stop your gums from receding any further. If you don’t already use dental floss, then we also recommend that you add this to your daily cleaning routine. Bacteria are more likely to collect in the areas that a toothbrush can’t reach, such as between the teeth. Although you may find flossing a little tricky initially, it is well worth persevering and The Lodge Dental Suite team are always happy to offer any help in advising how to use it correctly.
It may also be wise to use a brush with softer bristles too. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that using an older brush, or brush head, will have this effect because the bristles have softened. Taking this approach only means that the brush will clean less effectively. Always replace your toothbrush or head every three months or so.
For any gum health problems, a visit to our dental hygienist is a good place to start. They will examine and give your teeth and gums a thorough clean. This not only helps to remove any bacterial build up, but will leave your mouth both looking and feeling much nicer.
To see the hygienist at The Lodge Dental Suite, appointments are available for patients from Cheshunt and Broxbourne, by calling us on 01992 643 388.