According to the California Dental Association (CDA), approximately three in every four adults suffer from some form of periodontal disease, including receding gums. A study was also conducted and confirmed that the possibility of someone experiencing receding gums increases with age. 90% of Americans aged 60 years old have at least one site about or greater than 1mm of recession.
What are receding gums?
A receding gum line is a common dental condition wherein the margin of the tissue of the gums surrounding the teeth wears away or pulls back, exposing a larger part of the tooth. When this happens, small pockets or gaps are created between the teeth and the gum line, making it easier for plaque to build up. If this is left untreated, more tissues in the gums will wear away and may result in tooth loss.
Persons with receding gums may experience the following symptoms:
- Visible lengthening of teeth
- Exposed roots of the tooth
- Loose teeth
- Bleeding gums after brushing or flossing
- Red, inflamed gums
- Bad breath
What causes receding gums?
Many things can result in the receding of your gum line. The most common causes of gum recession are as follows:
- Periodontal disease
Periodontal disease is the leading cause of receding gums. It is a type of gum infection that is caused by bacteria. This condition targets the gum tissue and the bone supporting the teeth. Unfortunately, the early stages of periodontal disease sometimes do not manifest pain and other symptoms.
Genetics can be a factor that causes or increases your risk of receding gums. According to studies conducted, about 30% of people may be predisposed to gum disease, including gum recession. No matter how good your dental hygiene is, there are still some who are simply more vulnerable to gum recession and other gum diseases.
- Poor dental hygiene
Healthy oral hygiene is the simplest way to keep your teeth and gums in good condition. Poor dental hygiene will promote bacterial growth in the mouth. This, in turn, will expose your teeth and gums to tartar and plaque buildup, which are one of the causes of gum recession. Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly will help ensure that the bacteria in your mouth are kept at bay and plaque buildup will be prevented.
- Hormonal changes
Changes in the body such as pregnancy, menopause, puberty, and others can also considerably change how your hormones work. The sudden decline or surge of estrogen levels in women can also affect the blood flow to the gums. This can make the gums more sensitive to anything which may result in irritation and infection.
- Crooked teeth or a misaligned bite
Crooked or misaligned teeth are harder to clean compared to properly aligned teeth. Apart from that, misaligned teeth also cause you to assign force to some teeth more than the others, making them more vulnerable to gum recession.
- Tobacco smoking
Tobacco smoking can expose your oral health to many undesirable effects, including gum recession. Tobacco contains ingredients that can develop into a sticky plaque that will increase your risk of tooth decay and attack the soft tissues of the gums. Smoking also decreases your saliva production, which is not healthy for the gums.