Receding Gums

A receding gumline, just like a receding hairline, won’t grow back. Once gums recede, tooth roots are exposed, and sensitive teeth, a cavity, or root erosion all become more likely. Maintaining healthy gums is the best way to prevent gum recession problems.

Why do gums recede?

Gum disease is the most common cause of receding gums. The bone and gums around teeth are destroyed by gum disease. As the gumline recedes, roots are exposed, and the teeth become long. Dark spaces appear between teeth, where the pink gums used to be.

Teeth grinding and clenching also lead to recession. Extreme and constant pressure makes teeth bend at the gumline and that makes bone and gums recede. Tooth bending can also create a concavity or notch in the root at the gumline, called root erosion.

Toothbrushing with stiff bristles and a rough technique tends to promote gum recession too. Body piercings, especially in the lips and tongue, can rub against gum tissue also causing recession. Crooked teeth, protruded or rotated, typically have roots covered by thin bone that can easily turn into recession areas.

Can you stop gum recession?

You can stop gum recession from gum disease with periodontal therapy and good home care.  Seeing a dental hygienist will maintain gum health and continue to keep the gumline stable. If teeth grinding contributes to the recession, a night guard can soften and redirect the forces that cause damage.

How do you fix receding gums?

Gum recession can be fixed with a gum graft. A graft moves healthy tissue, from the roof of your mouth, to the exposed root. You should fix receding gums when the area is constantly red, swollen or infected. Crooked teeth can be fixed with orthodontic appliances, like Invisalign. Teeth tipped in towards your tongue, when properly aligned, can actually raise the gumline. Root erosion can be filled in with tooth bonding and prevent wear from hard tooth brushing.

How do you brush receding gums?

Use only a soft bristle toothbrush on receding gums. The best technique for brushing is gentle circular motions with bristles on the teeth at all times. The best toothpastes for gum recession are non-abrasive. Avoid toothpastes with baking soda or tartar control silica. You can promote tissue growth by massaging the area with a rubber gum stimulator. We have those and can show you how it’s done. Remedies advertised to “reverse” receding gums might promote gum health but don’t grow tissue.

The gums play a major role in producing a beautiful smile. So when the curtain is drawn, and the lips reveal your teeth, don’t let the gums ruin your smile’s performance.


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Michael Kriston, DDS

903 San Ramon Valley Blvd., Suite 120 Danville, CA 94526

Phone: (925) 838-2900 | Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM