How to Prevent Gum Recession

by James Florence


Gum recession isn’t easily remedied, which makes proactive prevention all the more important. Photo: Richard F. Sellman, D.D.S. (2014)

Gum recession is a unique condition in the realm of oral health. Since there’s no associated pain or irritation, it can progress gradually over time without being noticed. Also, unlike issues such as cavities and misaligned teeth, there’s no simple way to reverse the effects of gum recession. While missing gum tissue can be restored through a surgical procedure, a technique for naturally regenerating tissue has yet to be discovered.

Due to its subtle yet permanent nature, it’s crucial to take preventive steps against the various factors that contribute to gum recession. Consider the following information:

Teeth grinding/clenching
According to most dental professionals, teeth grinding or clenching is the most common contributor to a receding gum line. Since this activity typically occurs during sleep, it’s important to heed signs like dull headaches or jaw soreness during the day. Whether caused by anxiety or an abnormal bite, this issue can be addressed by wearing a mouth guard while you sleep.

Improper brushing
Wearing a mouth guard is a good first defense against gum recession, but another important step is to assess your brushing habits. Whether you use a toothbrush with firm bristles or simply brush too vigorously, improper brushing techniques can result in undue wear on your gums. Since it’s often difficult to break bad brushing habits, most dentists recommend purchasing an electric toothbrush. In addition to having moving bristles that do most of the work for you, many electric toothbrushes are equipped with sensors that automatically reduce power when too much pressure is applied.

Proper oral hygiene
Inadequate brushing and flossing practices can lead to bacterial infections like gingivitis and periodontal disease, which can devastate gum tissue. Frequent use of tobacco products poses a further risk for contracting gum disease.

Regardless of the cause, the best way to preventively identify gum recession is to keep up with regularly scheduled dental cleanings and exams.

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