When it comes to good oral hygiene, most of us obsess over having white teeth and fresh breath. However, gum health is equally important to excellent oral care since they surround the teeth and protect the structure of the tooth.
So what does it mean when your gums begin to recede? Receding gums is when the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth begins to wear away and expose the tooth’s root. This creates gaps between the teeth that contribute to bacteria build-up that can lead to gum disease, tooth damage, and eventually tooth loss. This process occurs gradually, leaving most people unaware that there is a change in their teeth and gums. The following are some indicators that you may have receding gums:
• Teeth appear longer
• Teeth or gums are more sensitive. You can feel a bump or bumps along your gum line However, most of the factors that cause receding gums are preventable. The causes of receding gums include:
• Poor brushing and flossing habits leave the gums more susceptible to tartar build-up that becomes wedged between teeth and leaves the mouth susceptible to infection.
• Tobacco use leaves a sticky plaque on teeth that is difficult to remove and contributes to tartar build-up.
• Grinding and clenching teeth and a misaligned bite are all examples of incidents where too much pressure on teeth can wear on the structure of the tooth leading to receding gums.
• Brushing too hard and lip and tongue piercings can rub up against gums and cause irritation that leads to receding gums.
Unfortunately, heredity is not preventable, but does lead to a predisposition to gum disease, making regular visits to your dentist that much more important. If caught early, receding gums can be treated through less invasive procedures. Some tips for preventing receding gums are:
• Regular check-ups with your dentist
• Brushing your teeth gently
• Avoiding tobacco use
• Eating well
• Monitoring oral changes
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