How to prevent periodontal disease from causing your gums to recede

How to prevent periodontal disease from causing your gums to recede
July 23, 2019  | IN UNCATEGORIZED

Gum tissue and accompanying bone are important components of the human body. Our teeth

need something to hold them in place and the gums provide this service through a fascinating blend of vise-like grip

and nurturing protection.

Despite its toughness, however, gum tissue does not regenerate like other types of

tissue. Think of the way your skin heals after being cut. Gum tissue doesn’t work like that and as such, damaged

gums, known as receding gums, don’t grow back to their original state.  

Gum disease explained

Gum recession, or periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissue holding your teeth

in place. Affected gums wear away, pulling back to expose more of the tooth or further to the tooth’s root. Gaps are

then prone to form between the gum and tooth, providing an ideal environment for nasty, disease-causing bacteria to

take hold. Left unchecked, that bacteria can severely damage tissue and bone structure surrounding the tooth, cause

sore or bleeding gums, chewing difficulties, and in some cases complete tooth loss.

The tricky part is receding gums occur very gradually and most people are unaware of the

problem until it has already progressed.

What causes it?

Consistently poor brushing and flossing habits allow bacteria to form plaque and build up

on our teeth to harden into tartar. Efficient brushing and flossing helps remove plaque but once tartar is formed,

only a professional cleaning does the trick.

Early stages of gum disease come in the form of symptoms such as red or swollen gums,

gums that are tender to the touch, bleeding gums, and persistent bad breath.

The most common causes of gum disease include:


We can’t do much about this one, but studies have shown that upwards of 30% of the US

population are likely genetically susceptible to gum disease, regardless of their glowing oral care habits.

Grinding or clenching teeth

Grinding or clenching your teeth exerts a great deal of pressure and that force causes

the gums to recede.

Brushing too hard

Overzealous brushing or simply brushing the wrong way can cause a tooth’s enamel to

gradually wear away, leading to receding gums.

Poor dental care

Infrequent brushing, flossing, and use of mouthwash provides the ideal environment for

plaque buildup.

Advanced symptoms

As gums continue to recede, afflicted people may notice several common symptoms including

long teeth, exposed roots, and loose teeth. Long teeth is a term associated with a visible “lengthening” of the

teeth; in other words, teeth have the appearance of being longer due to receding gums.

Exposed roots are a sure sign of periodontal disease and are often very sensitive and

painful. This is typically a result of aggressive brushing with a hard-bristled brush.

You may also notice some teeth becoming loose due to the bacteria under the gums. As the

gum’s attachment integrity fails, pockets in the gums form and get deeper.

Treatment and prevention

Even though receding gums won’t grow back, you can still prevent them from receding

further and surgical procedures for advanced cases

Mild stages of gum recession can be treated by a professional cleaning to remove plaque

and tartar and smooth over exposed root areas. Antibodies can also be used to kill off any stubborn remaining


Advanced gum recession is sometimes insufficient due to excess bone loss and deep gum

pockets. In these cases, patients may have to opt for oral surgery.

How can you prevent gum recession in the first place? The best way is to take good care

of what you have. Brush and floss at least twice a day and visit your dentist no less than two times a year. If you

smoke, stop it. Eat a healthy diet and stay alert to any changes to your mouth and teeth. Using a battery-powered

toothbrush also goes a long way toward strong, healthy teeth.

Scaling and planing

If you have or suspect gum disease, go see your dentist. He or she can measure recession

and if bacteria are spotted, they will likely recommend a scaling and root planing procedure. This involves scraping

tartar from your teeth and gum line with specialized tools to loosen and remove plaque.

Your dentist also might apply an antibacterial gel under the gum line or prescribe an

antibiotic mouthwash. This helps remove bacteria and is an effective first step in slowing or even stopping gum


For answers to more questions on periodontal disease, contact Beach City Dental at (714)

790-1662 or