Long in the Tooth? Receding Gums, A Wobbly Truth

Long in the Tooth? Receding Gums, A Wobbly Truth

Receding Gums, due to their visibility, are sometimes associated with the general effects of ageing, yet as we have learned to look after all facets of our health in the last 50 years, this is a condition that can, in theory, be prevented.

Over the course of our adult lives, plaque and bacteria can build up over many years due to inadequate oral care. Receding gums are one of the noticeable symptoms of gum disease. Definitively, the occurrence of receding gums usually refers to the gradual exposure of the tooth and its root, due to the gum tissue being pulled away. Left untreated, this can mean that the bone of the teeth root can become vulnerable to infections, and a worse-case scenario could mean painful nerve damage or even losing the tooth entirely.

Causes

The most direct cause is that of ongoing, untreated levels of gum disease. Periodontal disease can infect the gums, meaning the gingivae effectively eat away at the healthy tissue at the base of your teeth, including the bone itself.

Lack of adequate oral hygiene

The use of an electric toothbrush and flossing implements will contribute to a decline the condition of your gums. This in turn builds up bad bacteria and plaque particularly in the back of the mouth where it is difficult to reach.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Grinding, Clenching and Bite Misalignment can wear down the teeth and gums in unusual and irregular places, contributing to gum recession.

 Over-Brushing

Significant over-brushing or using a brush that is too stiff can contribute to pushing back gums that are already damaged or loose.

Tobacco and Alcohol

Marina Parade Dental always stress the dangers of using any tobacco products or excessive alcohol consumption on users’ oral and dental health.

Hormones

Different stages of our lives can naturally see hormonal changes that impact our gums’. Puberty, pregnancy and the menopause are the main contributors that may make women more susceptible to changes in our make-up at these times. It is up to us to take extra care of our teeth and gums at these times.

The Symptoms

A visible lengthening of some teeth compared to others.

Gum tissue is pulled away from the tooth root.

Pockets or gaps between teeth that become larger, possibly more swollen or painful.

Bleeding from the gums when brushing or flossing normally.

Wobbly teeth, cavities or loss of the tooth itself.

How to Prevent Receding Gums

Many of us do not realise the strain our gums are constantly under, and as such may not realise for many years that they are not caring for their gums. Without proper brushing and regular flossing, and the bi-yearly interaction with a good hygienist and dentist, periodontitis can worsen, creating softer, looser pockets around the gum lines, not realising anything is even wrong until there is a deep tissue infection, cavity or even a wobbly tooth.

Receding gums do not grow back, but there are lots of ways you can help.

A healthy, balanced diet that is kind to your teeth.

Regular general check-ups, twice a year, especially with your hygienist.

Smoking cessation, and in turn, the cessation of vaping or e-cigarettes.

A custom moulded night guard can help, along with the management and treatment of any cavities that develop – this will stop the gums spreading infection as quickly or insidiously.

If you have any concerns about the health of your teeth and gums we are able to help you. Book an appointment with our fantastic and experienced dental health team and with state-of-the-art technology and treatments we can help renew your smile to its former sparkle.

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