Receding Gums Symptoms

While receding gums can be caused by a few different things, it’s most frequently a symptom of gum disease. Receding gums are characterized by the gums pulling away from the surfaces of the teeth and leaving the roots of the teeth exposed. Depending on the severity of the condition, there are different treatments available; in general, the earlier receding gums caused by periodontal disease are intercepted, the better the outcome of treatment. However, because the gums tend to recede slowly, it might be difficult to notice that it’s happening; after all, if you look at your face every day, you’re unlikely to notice small changes. Thankfully, your dentist monitors the health and condition of your gums at each check up, and they’ll have benchmark measurements they can use to determine the extent of your receding gums and promptly begin treatment to halt their destruction.

Periodontal disease starts out as gum disease, which is caused by the accumulation of bacterial plaque on the teeth, both above and below the gum line. While a good amount of plaque can be removed with conscientious brushing and flossing, there’s always some residual plaque that remains; this residual plaque calcifies over time and turns into tartar, which causes the gums to become inflamed and pull back away from the teeth. The more the teeth pull away, the more room there is between the gums and teeth for additional bacteria to accumulate, and the more bacteria that accumulate, the worse the inflammation they cause.

When the gums recede and pull away from the teeth, this can make the teeth appear longer; however, because the gums usually recede gradually, it can be difficult to notice incremental changes. It’s helpful, therefore, to keep an eye out for other symptoms. Common symptoms of receding gums include swelling or redness in the gum tissue, bleeding from the gums after flossing or brushing, bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth, noticeably loose teeth, pain or sensitivity at the gum line, and visibly exposed tooth roots. If there is infection present in the gums, your periodontist will prescribe antibiotics as the first course of treatment. If other underlying concerns are contributing to gum recession, these may also be treated, either with topical gels, antimicrobial mouthwash, or other types of medication designed to suppress inflammation and destroy infection.

It is estimated that nearly three-quarters of adult tooth loss in the United States is attributable to gum disease, which makes sense when you consider the important role gum tissue plays in supporting and securing the teeth in their proper homes. When the gum tissue is significantly compromised by gum disease, dentists may use tissue grafts and other surgical techniques to improve the symptoms of receding gums, though treatment of periodontal disease is often sufficient to restore the gums to health and slow or stop their recession. Continued proper maintenance of the oral health is integral to sustaining the vitality of the gum tissue, and regular dental visits play an instrumental role in early detection and treatment for receding gums. While you can do your part with a good home hygiene routine, it takes teamwork with your dentist and adherence to healthy habits to stop your gums from receding and restore the oral cavity to health.

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