Receding gums, like the gingivitis that generally causes them, are most likely to take place as people get older, although it can occur during puberty, pregnancy or menopause. It's a fairly common condition that can lead to serious problems if not addressed with the right dental care in the early stages.
While the inflammation at the gum line is the reason for recession, there are other factors leading to conditions that cause gums to pull back from the teeth. If people brush their teeth too hard, for example, they can wear down the tooth enamel and cause the gums to shift.
Smoking, which causes plaque build-up, as well as tooth grinding and misaligned teeth that cause damage to both the tooth and gum structure are among the reasons why receding gums develop. But poor dental hygiene and not making regular visits to the dentist are probably the top reasons why gum disease progresses. For people who have no dental insurance, purchasing a dental plan that provides a discounted rate for oral healthcare is one way to address conditions like receding gums.
Dentistry experts say that daily brushing and flossing are the best ways to keep gum disease from developing and gums from receding. When good hygiene lapses, plaque builds up on teeth and may require a deep cleaning called scaling, which removes the unseen plaque below the gum line. Sometimes, this is enough to stop gum recession from worsening.
It's important for patients who have the beginning of gum recession to continue to see their family dentists on a regular basis to monitor whether the gums have continued to recede. When the gaps between the teeth and gum line become too deep to reverse, oral surgery may be necessary.
Depending on the severity of the case, there are several methods of dental surgery used to rejuvenate the gum surface so that teeth will not loosen and eventually fall out. The first method is called pocket depth reduction. By folding back the affected gum, bacteria that has taken root in the gaps between the teeth is easier to remove. Once the area is cleaned out, the gaps are reduced in size and are sometimes eliminated.
In more serious cases, when bone disintegration has begun, the dentist can regenerate lost bone and tissue with a material such as a graft tissue or protein stimulant applied to the damaged area. The gum tissue is folded back to allow the procedure, then secured over the teeth once the regenerative material has been applied.
Gum tissue grafting is done in the most severe cases. Connective tissue is taken from the roof of the mouth and stitched to the gum tissue around the exposed tooth root. In some instances, there is enough gum tissue left around the teeth to graft it into place rather than take it from the palate.
Preventing more recession
Once gum recession has been treated surgically, it's important to continue regular visits to the dentist to make sure new instances don't develop. Preventing additional recession is largely a case of preventative care.
Smoking and chewing tobacco, one of the biggest contributors to gum disease, should be stopped. Eating a balanced diet contributes to overall good health, and healthy dental structure is part of that. Certain foods, such as carrots and apples, act as natural cleansers by scraping plaque from teeth while they are eaten. Sugar consumption should be curbed as much as possible and rinsing with water through the day can help prevent a sugary coating of the teeth and gums from creating new problems.
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