I was surprised to hear from my dentist that I had gum recession. I was also surprised to hear that I was brushing “too hard.” Too hard? Shouldn’t I be receiving an A+ for my efforts and enthusiasm? Well, when he told me I could never get back the gum tissue that I literally brushed off, I was compelled to learn more….
Gum recession is a condition where the gums begin to pull away from the roots of the teeth. Gum recession is unfortunately permanent, and it cannot be fixed without medical intervention.
There are several causes of gum recession. Common causes include aggressive brushing, clenching and grinding teeth, abnormal teeth location, tobacco use, and most importantly poor oral hygiene that leads to periodontal disease.
Sometimes people can be too enthusiastic about brushing their teeth, and they are aggressively brushing their gums to the point of detachment. It is important to change this habit so that permanent gum recession can be avoided. If aggressive tooth brushing continues to persist, this can cause permanent gum recession, where the gums are no longer attached to the teeth in their proper place, leaving roots exposed. When roots are exposed, this can lead to even more bothersome symptoms including pain and sensitivity to cold or heat.
Another avoidable cause of gum recession is periodontal disease. Periodontal disease occurs when a thin film of plaque persists underneath the gumline. This plaque contains very harmful bacteria that causes intense inflammation. When the inflammation continues, the gums will begin to recede. The gum recession will progress and leave tooth roots exposed, again causing sensitivity and pain, ranging from mild to excruciating.
While sometimes periodontal disease can be genetic or passed on from a caregiver, it can also be caused by lack of proper dental home care. People think brushing teeth is mandatory, and believe flossing is an optional task. This is the most common dental fail that pervades our society! Flossing is not optional!
Flossing is essential for dental health and overall health. The harmful bacteria that sits underneath the gum not only causes periodontal disease and gum recession;it can enter your blood stream! Studies have shown that these same bacteria can attach to your connective tissue and heart valves, leading to serious cardiovascular problems. Periodontal disease has also been associated with an increased risk of other diseases, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Arthritis, Certain Cancers, Diabetes, and Obesity. Flossing is more than just getting pieces of stuck food out from between your teeth, it is a battle you must win in the name of your systemic health.
If you suffer from gum recession, what can be done? Unfortunately, there are no over-the-counter cures for gum recession. You must see a dentist, so that she can start the path to solutions. Depending how severe your gum recession is, the dentist may refer you to a periodontist.
A periodontist is a specialist that can treat gum recession and other symptoms of periodontal disease, including missing teeth. A periodontist can treat your gum recession with gum surgery to repair the affected areas. During minor gum surgery, the periodontist can use special tools and techniques to go beneath the gum to remove the harmful bacteria that the toothbrush and floss cannot remove. The harmful bacteria must be removed, to prevent the condition from spreading or getting worse. After the periodontist cleans the area, he performs surgical techniques to reattach the gums to the proper place, so that your tooth roots are no longer exposed, and your teeth are protected.
You may wonder what would happen if you let gum recession go untreated. Left untreated, pockets will form underneath the gum, which will act as the perfect home for the harmful bacteria to live and multiply. The bacteria lead to more inflammation, which leads to more gum recession. As the gum recession worsens, the tooth will become more and more detached and you will lose the tooth or even multiple teeth because of this condition.
At Narducci Dental Group locations, thereis aBoard-Certified Periodontist on their TEAM to help you with gum recession. With their team-based approach to oral health, they make the process for your care simple, organized, and achievable for your busy schedule and budget. The TEAM Periodontist is a provider formost insurance plans, like the TEAM general dentists, and he will travel to your general dental location to best serve you. Oral health is total health. Take the steps to self-care and be your best self in 2021 by brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist to monitor any gum recession you may not realize you have.