Receding gums is a condition caused in most cases by periodontal disease such as gingivitis. In its very early stages the conditions that cause receding gums often go unnoticed but it is not a quick process. The receding gum line takes years to reach a state where pain and visible symptoms are present. For that reason the best cure is prevention and several things you can do to help ward off receding gums are:
• Learn and apply proper brushing and flossing techniques – Spend enough time several times a day to thoroughly brush all surfaces of the teeth and gums as well as learning the proper procedure for flossing. Plaque buildup is the number one cause of most forms of gum disease and receding gums. When plaque builds up it releases harmful toxins into the gum line which causes an infection and swelling of the tissues. The resulting inflammation makes the gums recede and furthers the problem by exposing the root of the tooth.
• When brushing use the appropriate brush texture for your teeth – If you have sensitive teeth, or a dentist has recommended the use of a softer brush make sure you select that type when purchasing new tooth brushes. In some cases over brushing, or hard pressure when brushing can cause damage to the tooth and gum line causing the gums to recede.
• Eat a proper diet – Sugary, starchy, and acidic foods have been proven to increase the likelihood of gum disease that causes gums to recede. If you find yourself faced with eating such foods be sure to brush and floss immediately afterwards to prevent plaque from building up and causing problems with your gums.
• Get regular dental checkups – Seeing your dentist for regular cleaning and checkups can catch symptoms of gum disease early before significant damage has occurred. At that time it is best treated by further preventative measures that are much more effective than attempting to stop or reverse receding gums after it has become more severe.
If in spite of your efforts you begin to see the more advanced stages of gum disease signaled by puffiness of the gums, bleeding, as well as bad breath caused by the infection in the gum line contact your dentist immediately. There are still steps that can be taken at that stage which will prevent further damage. Surgery to clean plaque that is under the gum line, as well as replacing damaged tissues with healthy grafts from other areas of the gums can prevent the most severe outcomes of gum disease.
If left untreated the ultimate damage from gum disease is bone damage and tooth loss. Once the gums have receded to the point of completely exposing the nerves of the teeth permanent damage has occurred and may no longer be reversible. At that point the only recourse may be if the damage to the underlying bone is not too great implants to replace the teeth themselves. If the jaw bone has been infected and begun to deteriorate as well complete removal of the teeth and replacement with dentures is usually the only option left.