If you have ever heard the phrase “getting long in the tooth” referring to growing older, you may not know that it takes its inspiration from a dental condition—sort of. Horses, as they age, tend to experience significant gum recession. When the gum recedes, it makes the tooth appear longer. Thus the longer a horse’s teeth, the older it is assumed to be.
For humans, gum recession is very common and is a dental problem that requires proper diagnosis and treatment. The gums, or gingiva, are just as important as teeth when it comes to your oral health. Without healthy gums, the teeth will experience many problems of their own, including tooth loss in severe cases. To fully understand how to avoid the consequences of gum recession, it is important to know what can cause it.
Causes of Receding Gums
• Improper brushing technique. Many cases of gum recession are due to improper tooth brushing. More specifically, brushing too hard or with the wrong motion can cause damage to the gum tissue, resulting in recession.
• Poor oral hygiene. Without good oral hygiene—which consists of brushing and flossing every day—plaque and tartar can build up on the teeth and eventually begin to destroy the gum tissue.
• Tooth grinding. People who grind their teeth are more likely to experience gum recession.
• Poorly aligned teeth. Teeth that are not properly aligned are more likely to have gum recession, likely due to a combination of poor biting patterns and inability to adequately clean around the tooth.
The consequences of gum recession are varied. For one, the tooth structure that is exposed when gums recede is not only more sensitive to stimuli such as hot and cold, it is far more susceptible to developing cavities than other parts of the tooth. Gum recession can also cause teeth to become loose or being shifting, causing changes in the way teeth fit together. In the most advanced cases of gum recession, tooth loss is possible.
There are treatments for gum recession, which include transplantation of tissue to the affected site. The tissue is normally taken from a different place in the patient’s mouth, usually from the palate.
The best course of action is to prevent gum recession altogether. This is achieved with diligent home care and regular dental checkups. By taking steps every day to keep your teeth and gums healthy, you can avoid the dangerous side effects of gum recession.
Want to schedule an appointment with one of our leading dentists in Webster Groves? Call our office today at (314) 962-2747.