Receding gums are as unsightly as they are unhealthy. Oftentimes, having receding gums is an indication of poor oral health. The gums in your mouth are made up of soft tissues that are susceptible to inflammation and damage. Gums may recede due to toothbrush abrasion or rough brushing and periodontal or gum disease.
Brushing the teeth in a horizontal direction or applying too much pressure while brushing can wear out the protective tooth enamel at the gum line thereby exposing dentin or the portion of the teeth where the nerves are located. As damage to tooth enamel progresses, the gums may also recede. This causes your teeth to become sensitive to extreme temperatures and sugar.
Lack of dental hygiene is also a major cause of receding gums. Inadequate brushing and flossing can cause bacteria to build up around your teeth and gums. When bacteria are not brushed away, they tend to dwell in your mouth and feed on gum tissue in order to reproduce. Gums may recede when bacteria attack the tissue surrounding your teeth causing it to appear as though your gums have been pushed back. Gum infection may eventually spread to the bone underneath your teeth causing bone loss. If left untreated, bacteria infection can promote a cycle of gum disease and bone loss, eventually causing the teeth to appear longer and become loose. What may have started as a condition affecting the gums may soon lead to tooth loss.
While skilled dentists may effectively treat receding gums to prevent further bone loss, it is best to take care of your gums before they are infected because by the time your gums recede, bone loss and tissue damage may no longer be reversed. Here are some tips for maintaining healthy gums and teeth:
1. Choose your toothbrush. Use a soft bristle toothbrush and hold it at a 45-degree angle while brushing to minimize pressure on the enamel and to avoid stripping gum tissues. Brush your teeth gently and in a circular motion instead of horizontally. Using a battery-operated toothbrush may also help as these instruments clean your teeth in a circular motion. Some toothbrush manufacturers have also developed angled toothbrushes with soft and graduated bristles. The shorter ends of the toothbrush clean the gum line gently. Change toothbrushes regularly as bacteria can build-up in them and infect your gums.
2. Floss before brushing your teeth. Brushing your teeth is not enough. Flossing regularly is the best way to remove bacteria and food particles that are lodged between teeth. After brushing, rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouth wash to kill germs that brushing may have left behind.
3. Maintain a healthy diet. A diet high in fruits and vegetables can provide you with good amounts of Vitamins A, C and E, which are essential for gum health. Vitamin-C prevents gum disease and promotes healing of gum tissue. Try a multi-vitamin supplement that contains other nutrients that promote oral health such as Coenzyme Q10, calcium, the B-vitamins and folic acid.