What do Receding Gums Mean?

Anyone who has problems with receding gums should do something about it as early as possible. After all, depending on the severity, gum regression is irreversible. Because the gums only regenerate to a certain extent. However, there are some treatment options with which those affected can at least stop the gum disease.

  • In most cases, either inflammation or excessive pressure is the cause of receding gums.
  • Gum regression can be recognized by symptoms such as redness, swelling or bleeding, as well as teeth that appear longer and the teeth are more sensitive to pain.
  • The open tooth necks caused by the receding gums can be the beginning of periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss.
  • To prevent gum disease, you should ensure thorough oral hygiene and attend all dental check-ups.

Causes of receding gums

There are several reasons for receding gums. In many cases, inflammation is the cause of the regression of the gums. However, if inflammatory processes are not the trigger, doctors speak of gingival recession. In this case, a combination of several factors is usually responsible for the problems with the gums.

Inflammation as a trigger for gum disease

Both common inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and inflammation of the tooth bed (periodontitis) are usually the result of poor oral hygiene. Because of this, bacteria present in the oral cavity can multiply largely unhindered; this is recognizable as plaque. The pathogens secrete toxins that attack the teeth and gums. As a result, the connection to the gums that are close to the tooth is loosened and gum pockets are formed. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontal disease.

Other triggers for receding gums

There are also various causes of gingival recession. In many cases, gum regression is due to excessive pressure on the gums. For example, excessive pressure when brushing your teeth can be responsible for this, which can occur in particular through hard brushing. When teeth grinding (bruxism) there is also an enormous pressure load that is transferred to the surrounding tissue. However, the list doesn’t end there. Common causes of gum disease are also:

  • Strong lip and cheek frenulum as well as scarring from surgery
  • Orthodontic treatment
  • Misaligned teeth or too small or too narrow jawbones
  • Ill-fitting dentures
  • Thin gums due to a genetic predisposition

Symptoms of receding gums

Many of those affected notice the receding gums quite late, as inflammation of the gums is often painless, especially in the early stages. Most people don’t notice the problem until open tooth necks are visible. At this point at the latest, you should definitely consult a doctor to stop the receding gums. If you regularly look at your teeth and gums, you can recognize impending regression early on and take countermeasures in good time. In particular, look out for the following signs of gum disease:

  • Red, swollen or inflamed gums
  • Increased sensitivity to pain
  • Teeth appear longer
  • Frequent bleeding gums(e.g. when brushing with a toothbrush or when using dental floss)

Since the symptoms just mentioned are only indicative, it is not always clear whether a person actually suffers from receding gums. Therefore, if possible, you should not miss a check-up at your dentist. Basically, the earlier you start treatment, the greater the chance of stopping the receding gums.

The consequences of receding gums

Gum recession results in exposed tooth necks, which have an increased risk of tooth decay . Unlike the tooth crown , the tooth neck only has a thin layer of enamel. As a result, open tooth necks are hardly protected against bacteria. In addition, they are comparatively sensitive to pain, which is particularly evident when consuming hot and cold food or drinks.

In addition, receding gums also increase the likelihood that bacteria will enter the gum bed and cause periodontal disease. This leads to the breakdown of the jawbone and in the worst case to the loss of teeth.

Treating gum disease

A dentist doesn’t just recognize receding gums. It also determines what is causing the tissue decline. If there is a lack of oral hygiene, many dentists perform periodontal treatment. In this case, a specialist removes all plaque above and below the gumline. If it is severe, surgical intervention may be necessary.

If, on the other hand, the receding gums are due to nighttime teeth grinding, a special grinding splint can help. If the cause is a poorly fitting prosthesis, the doctor will correct the prosthesis.

In the early stages in particular, receding gums can often regenerate. However, if the gums continue to recede, the damage will eventually become irreversible. Then the only option is a gum transplant.

Preventing receding gums: tips for healthy gums

In addition to regular preventive examinations, the best measure against receding gums is good oral hygiene or dental care. Dentists recommend brushing your teeth for three minutes at least twice a day and also cleaning the spaces between your teeth and your tongue. It is also advisable to have your teeth cleaned professionally twice a year .

Smoking is also bad for gum health. According to various studies, those who smoke cigarettes every day have a significantly higher risk of developing periodontal disease.