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What Makes Gums Recede?

Gums are the tissue lining the roots of your teeth and surrounding bone. When healthy, it’s a barrier from bacteria attacking your teeth. The bone and root are firmly attached to each other. The gums can withdraw over time exposing your teeth to bacterial buildup. Because the gums withdraw gradually, it is difficult to spot. Receding gums can compromise dental hygiene, so it’s important to spot recession early on. Your dentist will have recommendations to address the problem, and some are discussed below.

Dental causes

Poor habits such as insufficient care in brushing and flossing teeth can contribute to receding gums. The position of your teeth and bite alignment as well as teeth grinding from stress encourages gum recession. The force applied by teeth clenching may be more stress than your gums can handle. Overcrowding of teeth leaves the gums spread thinly at the root. Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a bacterial attack that is detrimental to your gums’ health. If you suffer from receding gums, your dentist may ask you to visit frequently to monitor and perform a deep cleaning of your mouth.

Take care to avoid overcompensating by brushing teeth using too much force or for too long. Doing so will cause trauma to the gums, which will have the effect of causing your gums to pull back. Flossing using too much strength has a similar effect.

Lifestyle choices that affect your gums

The tobacco in cigarettes adheres to the surface of your teeth. This sticky material attracts bacteria and is not easily removed with regular brushing. Bacteria in your mouth encourages tooth decay and gum disease.

Lip and tongue piercings have ends that introduce a hard material to the soft tissue in your mouth. When speaking or eating, the piercings rub against your tongue and gums, causing the tissue to wear away.

Predispositions to gum loss

The hormones present in the body can actually affect the gum line. Times like puberty, pregnancy, or menopause are linked to periods of gum recession. Similarly, those who suffer from diabetes are more prone to receding gums. Finally, the steps taken for good dental hygiene may not do much to prevent gum recession. A study has shown that up to 30% of receding gums are actually genetic. Some of us are born with gums that provide insufficient coverage and cannot tolerate everyday stresses.


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