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What Causes Receding Gums?

By Expert Author: Susan Taylor

Receding gums or gum recession is a dental problem that involves the gum tissue margin to pull back as it becomes worn, causing the roots of the tooth (or teeth) to be exposed. As the problem continues, spaces or gaps between the teeth and the gum line may form and become bigger pockets where bacteria can thrive, causing more dental and gum problems to develop. Gum recession is one of the signs of gum disease; if this concern is left untreated, the underlying jawbone can be affected as well.

A receding gums problem may not initially be noticed, as it develops gradually with early signs of tooth sensitivity. This sensitivity is a result of the exposure of the tooth roots as the gum tissue continues to be worn down. The teeth will also take on a longer appearance as the gums pull back from the normal position.

Receding Gums Causes
Poor Oral Hygiene Practices When tooth brushing and using dental floss is done infrequently, plaque and tartar deposits can build up on spaces between the teeth and the gum line. This bacteria-filled buildup causes the gums to recede. Irregular visits to the dentist can lead to gum recession and other gum problems as well, often because the concerns are not detected (and treated) in their earliest stages.

Crooked Teeth Improperly aligned teeth have the tendency to grind against one another. This constant grinding exposes the teeth and the jawbone to a lot of force, which can cause the gums to eventually be worn away.

Aggressive Tooth Brushing Techniques Brushing the teeth using strokes that are too aggressive or too hard can cause the gums to recede. Aggressive tooth brushing techniques can also contribute to the wearing down of the tooth enamel that aggravates sensitive teeth problems.

Genetics Some people are predisposed to gum problems and gum recession due to genetics.

Hormonal Changes Hormonal changes especially in women during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause causes the gums to be extra sensitive, and more prone to gum recession problems.

Teeth Grinding or Bruxism Constant clenching or grinding of teeth places a lot of force on the teeth structure, and contributes to the gradual recession of the gum tissue. Teeth grinding or bruxism can also make the teeth to become loose and the gums to fall away from what should be the normal tight fit against the teeth.

Smoking The chemicals found in cigarettes and other tobacco products make it easy for sticky plaque to form on the surface of teeth. If this sticky buildup is not removed at once, it can cause gum problems and gum recession.

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