What Causes Receding Gums?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

While many people think of receding gums as being a condition that only occurs later in life, that is not the case. Several different causes can lead to this type of gum disease, making it possible for people of all ages and genders to experience recession of the gums. These causes include an existing health issue, a lack of proper hygiene, an abnormal alignment of the teeth, and trauma to the mouth and gum area.

Individuals with receding gums will experience tooth sensitivity to heat and cold.
Individuals with receding gums will experience tooth sensitivity to heat and cold.

Receding gums are not unusual with people who experience health issues like gingivitis or some form of periodontal disease. As the gums begin to recede, the teeth become more sensitive to both heat and cold, creating a great deal of pain. In some cases, successful treatment of the underlying disease will slow the recession of the gums and alleviate some of the sensitivity.

Individuals who fail to brush their teeth regularly may develop receding gums.
Individuals who fail to brush their teeth regularly may develop receding gums.

Poor oral hygiene can also lead to the development of receding gums. Failing to brush the teeth regularly, flossing to remove plaque buildup between the teeth, and utilizing a mouth rinse consistently can lead to all sorts of tooth problems as well as contribute to the recession of the gums. As with gingival recession, gums that recede due to poor oral hygiene can cause increased sensitivity, as well as damage the roots of the teeth over time.

Trauma may lead to the development of receding gums.
Trauma may lead to the development of receding gums.

Gum problems of this type can also come about due to problems with the teeth. The issues may involve teeth that are crooked and do not fit together properly when the individual bites down. Dental problems like this can also take place due to improper alignment of crowns, caps, and fillings. Both situations create additional stress on the teeth and gums, and in turn causes the gums to recede if the pressure is not relieved by having the teeth straightened and balanced by a dentist or oral surgeon.

A woman with healthy gums.
A woman with healthy gums.

Trauma can also lead to the development of this type of gum problem. For example, a fall or an auto accident could involve damage to the mouth and teeth. The end result is gums that are traumatized and expose more of the tooth, including the roots. When this sort of activity is the underlying cause for the receding gums, reconstructive surgery that repairs the teeth and brings them back into proper alignment is the most efficient way to protect exposed roots and relieve the excess pressure.

Flossing can help prevent premature receding gums.
Flossing can help prevent premature receding gums.

In less severe situations, physicians may recommend the use of some type of medication applied directly to the teeth in order to alleviate some of the sensitivity and general gum pain. Often, the medicine is in liquid form and is applied along the gum line using a cotton swab. Alternative practitioners recommend the use of several nutrients to slow down decay and restore a degree of health to the gums. Nutrients like vitamin B complex, vitamin C, a balance of calcium and magnesium, and phosphorus are all thought to help stop and sometimes reverse the progress of receding gums.

Improper alignment of fillings can contribute to recession of gums.
Improper alignment of fillings can contribute to recession of gums.
Hormonal changes experienced during pregnancy can cause gingivitis and receding gums.
Hormonal changes experienced during pregnancy can cause gingivitis and receding gums.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments

BostonIrish

A receding gum line can cause the teeth to go in random directions because of a lack of a solid base to hold them in place. This is why retainers are necessary after braces are taken off. The natural structure of gums is disrupted by unnatural braces, and the unnatural retainer is needed to hold them in place after the process. It is actually rare to find a person who is consistent with using their retainers, since they are uncomfortable and get in the way of a natural appearance.

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