Though you may not like thinking about the diseases that can plague your gums or teeth, practicing good dental hygiene is important and preventing issues like receding gums is vital to your dental health. Receding gums is a condition that's common in adults over age 40, according to the California Dental Association. In many cases, it is a sign or precursor to one of a few different other dental problems, meaning that it's important to take it seriously from the start.
What are Receding Gums?
Simply put, this occurs when the small amount of tissue around the teeth wear away towards the direction of the root of the tooth. This process often occurs because of plaque, which serves to irritate the gums. As the buildup of plaque increases over time, it erodes the tissue, exposing more of the tooth as time wears on, creating a "recessed" appearance.
Causes of Receding Gums
Though plaque buildup is one of the major reasons why gums recede in your mouth, it is only one way it can happen. There are several other factors and causes of gum recession that may influence either the progression of the disease or speed at which your gums recede. For instance, genetics can play a role in the wear and recession of your gums. Regardless of how well your dental hygiene is, studies have shown that around thirty percent of individuals may be genetically predisposed to gum recession and gum disease. If you fall into this category, you need to be all the more cautious about dental hygiene and speak with your dentist about the steps you can take to prevent it from happening.
Another cause of gum recession is aggressive tooth brushing. Over time, aggressive tooth brushing can cause the wear of enamel on your teeth, making it more likely that your gums will recede sooner. On the flip side, poor dental hygiene and insufficient dental care can also be likely causes. If you get in a routine of going to bed without brushing your teeth, or you go through life without ever seeing a dentist for a professional teeth cleaning, your chances for gum recession increase.
Your habits can also influence whether or not your gums recede and the speed at which they do. Tobacco products are notorious for causing damage to your gums because they create a sticky kind of plaque on teeth that's more difficult to remove than regular plaque. Surprisingly or not, body piercings like that of the tongue piercing can also influence receding gums. The ring jewelry you wear on your tongue, or even lip, can rub the gums and cause irritations, thus wearing away gums.
Several other factors can also cause receding gums, some external to your control. For example, hormonal changes in women can influence gum recession. As women, your hormones fluctuate at several points throughout your life, including during pregnancy, puberty and menopause. These hormonal changes and processes make your gums more sensitive and vulnerable, which can give way to receding gums. Other causes of receding gums include a misaligned bite, crooked teeth, and even the continual grinding and clenching of the teeth.
Signs and Stages
Receding gums is actually pretty easy to diagnose, and in many cases you'll know that something is wrong if you're experiencing this condition. For example, your teeth will be more sensitive to touch, and you'll be especially sensitive to food and drinks that are either hot or cold. Aside from this, there are basically three different distinct stages that receding gum disease can be placed into.
With a normal, healthy set of teeth, you'll notice a scalloped appearance of the gingiva, which is part of the soft tissue that holds your gums tightly against each tooth. In the early stages of receding gums, you'll notice that your gums are bright red and tender to the touch. You'll also probably notice that they're swollen, which is often accompanied with bleeding. Bleeding gums can happen when you brush a little too vigorously as well as during times when you go in for a professional dental cleaning. During this stage, which is often the earliest stage, the process of gum recession should be easily reversed with help from your dentist and a revamped dental hygiene routine.
As this condition progresses, the gums will actually start to pull away from the teeth. Your teeth will become loose and you'll actually notice a pus-like substance residing between the teeth and gums. As it progresses into the third stage, teeth become even looser, they may be very brittle and a few may even fall out. Your teeth may be extremely sensitive to hot and cold substances, they look very inflamed. In the final stages of gum recession, you'll also notice the visible parts of the roots as well.
Conditions Linked to This Disease
The direct effects of a receding gum line are quite obvious, such as crooked teeth, sensitive teeth, teeth loosening and loss. Aside from the direct effects of receding gums, however, there are several other indirect links to which gum recession is connected. For example, receding gums can lead to periodontal disease, which is a disease that attacks both the gums and bones around the teeth. This condition is often a "gateway" that's associated with several other very serious health issues and conditions, including heart disease and stroke, heart attack, diabetes as well as respiratory disease.
Hence, it's critical to focus not only the treatment, but also the preventing of a receding gums condition from the start. Perhaps the best thing to do when you come to the conclusion that you have a receding gums condition is to prevent it from getting worse. This means practicing strict oral and dental hygiene habits, such as brushing two times per day and flossing regularly.
This kind of plan also necessitates a cautious mindset, however, as you don't want to do any more physical damage if any has occurred already. For example, you need to be mindful to brush your teeth more gently. You may also want to use a non-alcoholic mouth rinse that clean your mouth of bacteria. Once you do get in the habit of practicing good oral and dental hygiene, you can reverse the start of receding gums in some cases, especially if you're in the early stages of the disease.
You can find more information about receding gum disease along with other dental disease and dental problems on our website. If you are considering denture implants or have questions about dental implant complications feel free to stop by and check out the info about these problems.
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