The 3 Best Ways to Avoid Gum Recession

Dr. Kyle Hornby

Hi! I'm Kyle Hornby and I'm a Kitchener, Ontario Dentist. A few times each week, I sit down at my computer to write blog articles that help my readers navigate the important topic of Oral Health. Today, I'd like to share a few tips for stopping gum recession in its tracks!

Most people are familiar with gum recession but, if you're not, don't worry - I'll break it down for you.

What is gum recession?

Your tooth is made of a crown (it's the part that's visible above the gums and covered in shiny, white enamel) and 1 or more roots (that's the portion hidden under the gums).

Dentists like to see your gums covering all of your tooth's root(s), right up to where the enamel on your crown begins.

Now, when your gums move away from the crown of your tooth (downward for lower teeth and upward for your top teeth), you experience gum recession. Your gums are no longer at the level where your tooth enamel (and crown) begin. They are now positioned somewhere along the root of your tooth.

So, why does it matter and why is gum recession not ideal?

Why we don't like gum recession

The roots of your teeth can be very sensitive to things that are cold, hot, salty, sweet or acidic. When gums are covering tooth roots entirely, people rarely experience tooth sensitivity. When gum recession occurs, in can leave people susceptible to tooth sensitivity and sometimes this can cause serious pain or discomfort.

For some people, gum recession does not lead to increased sensitivity so, it's important to note that, everybody's different.

In many cases, people may experience a few areas of mild to moderate recession before gum levels stabilize long-term.

In rarer cases, a patient may experience severe and progressive or continuous recession.

Sometimes, people find their smile reveals longer teeth or yellow root surfaces and want to pursue corrective treatment purely for esthetic reasons.

Given that gum recession can cause tooth sensitivity and increase concerns about smile esthetics, let's discuss the top 3 ways to prevent recession or to stop active recession in its tracks!

1. Clenching, Grinding and Gum Recession: How a Nightguard can Help!

gum recession from grinding teeth

Lots of people clench and grind their teeth during the day and even more people are doing it unconsciously at night. Sometimes the habit is triggered by stress while other times it's brought on by low quality, interrupted sleep or even obstructive sleep apnea.

When you clench your teeth (especially at night), they're under hundreds of pounds of pressure. This focuses a lot of pressure on the gums and bone encasing your tooth roots. Both are thinnest and weakest near your gum line.

What you get over time, is progressive gum recession and sometimes it can become severe if it's not diagnosed and treated.

So, what can you do?

First, watch out for signs of tooth grinding. You might catch yourself doing it during the daytime. If it's more of a nighttime habit, you might wake with jaws in a clenched position or experience toothaches, jaw soreness or frequent tension headaches. Sometimes your partner will even mention that you make strange noises with your teeth at night.

If you are grinding your teeth at night, make sure to have your Kitchener Dentist make an acrylic night guard for you. This is a soft, plastic-like appliance that fits between your upper and lower teeth to cushion grinding forces.

Less force concentrated at your gum lines means stopping gum recession before it starts!

2. Lighten up! Forceful Brushing and Gum Recession

gum recession and tooth brushing

Heavy-handed brushing can literally wipe your gums away. I often ask patients to show me how they brush their teeth and they pick up the toothbrush like it's a hammer.

The reality is that many people brush forcefully because it gets their teeth feeling smoother and cleaner, faster. I used to brush my teeth under heavy force before I went to dental school. But, now, I encourage people to brush their teeth like they're painting a canvas.

A finesse approach to brushing your teeth will remove plaque more slowly and it will require more reps and a longer overall brushing time but it's the best thing for your gums.

3. Post-Orthodontic Monitoring

Most people don't know this but straightening your teeth is one of the most common causes of gum recession.

How can this be?

Well, most people who pursue braces and Invisalign do so because their teeth are misaligned due to crowding. Essentially, there's not enough space for the teeth they have.

The best way to make space is to increase the perimeter or circumference of their dental arch. This creates a wider smile and more space for teeth so they can be fit together in a perfect position.

But, how can your Orthodontist create more space and a larger perimeter for your dental arch?

They do this by slowly moving your teeth outward toward your lips. As all the teeth move outward/forward, you grow the amount of space in your dental arch.

One possible side effect of moving the teeth forward is that they will move into an area of thinner and lower gum attachment. This often leads to gum recession, specifically on lower front teeth (incisors) and premolar and canine teeth.

For this reason, it's really important to have regular checkups with your Kitchener Dentist to make sure they are tracking your gum levels.

If you're experiencing progressive or increasing recession, they'll be able to make recommendations to help you keep things stable.

Summary

Gum recession can be accelerated under certain circumstances and it's important to be aware of the most common triggers. If you know the most common causes of gum recession, you'll be in a position to prevent it from happening. As with most dental issues, prevention is best achieved both at home and with the help of regular checkups at your Dentist's office!

By Dr. Kyle Hornby, Kitchener, Ontario Dentist

Our Dentist Office is located in Downtown Kitchener. We are a short drive away for families in Waterloo, Breslau & St. Jacobs. Our central location means we truly offer family dentistry near you!

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Dentist or other healthcare providers regarding a dental condition or treatment.

Hi! I'm Kyle Hornby and I'm a Kitchener, Ontario Dentist. A few times each week, I sit down at my computer to write blog articles that help my readers navigate the important topic of Oral Health. Today, I'd like to share a few tips for stopping gum recession in its tracks!

Most people are familiar with gum recession but, if you're not, don't worry - I'll break it down for you.

What is gum recession?

Your tooth is made of a crown (it's the part that's visible above the gums and covered in shiny, white enamel) and 1 or more roots (that's the portion hidden under the gums).

Dentists like to see your gums covering all of your tooth's root(s), right up to where the enamel on your crown begins.

Now, when your gums move away from the crown of your tooth (downward for lower teeth and upward for your top teeth), you experience gum recession. Your gums are no longer at the level where your tooth enamel (and crown) begin. They are now positioned somewhere along the root of your tooth.

So, why does it matter and why is gum recession not ideal?

Why we don't like gum recession

The roots of your teeth can be very sensitive to things that are cold, hot, salty, sweet or acidic. When gums are covering tooth roots entirely, people rarely experience tooth sensitivity.

By Dr. Kyle Hornby, Kitchener, Ontario Dentist

Our Dentist Office is located in Downtown Kitchener. We are a short drive away for families in Waterloo, Breslau & St. Jacobs. Our central location means we truly offer family dentistry near you!

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Dentist or other healthcare providers regarding a dental condition or treatment.

Enjoy a fresh start.
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