Two common causes of receding gums are gum disease (periodontitis) and trauma from tooth brushing.
If the cause is periodontal disease, management involves treating and stabilising the disease in order to prevent further destruction. If tooth brushing trauma is the cause, prevention may be somewhat more challenging since it may be difficult to change brushing habits.
Suggestions for the prevention of toothbrushing trauma
- Ask your dental professional to recommend the vest toothbrush for you, this is likely to be either an electric brush with a pressure sensor, or a soft-textured toothbrush with a small brush head design. Toothbrushes designed for sensitive teeth are particularly suitable to help prevent tooth brushing trauma.
- Begin by brushing the areas least affected by recession. These areas frequently present the inside surfaces of the back teeth. Once you continue onto brushing the outer surfaces of the teeth, the toothbrush is likely to be softer and it is possible brushing pressure may be reduced at this point.
- Ask your dental care professional to demonstrate the nest technique for brushing, you should not avoid the gum margin as this can lead to gum inflammation, but you should make sure you have a careful technique to prevent further damage
- Change your toothbrush as soon as it starts to become frayed at the edges (typically by 3 months of use). Toothbrush bristles that have become worn and frayed cause more damage and are less effective at cleaning. The better your tooth brushing technique becomes, the less rapidly your toothbrush will be frayed.
- Avoid using highly abrasive toothpastes, such as toothpastes designed for whitening or smokers or charcoal toothpastes
- Brushing twice per day, once last thing at night and on one other occasion. Brush for 2-4 minutes. Brushing too frequently (in excess of 3-4 times per day) may contribute to increased recession.
- Avoid brushing teeth after drinking orange juice or other acidic foods. If you already have gum recession, the softer tooth root surfaces are exposed to the pH conditions created in the mouth through ingestion of various foods. These root surfaces are particularly susceptible to an acidic oral environment. Brushing the exposed root surfaces after consuming acidic food or beverages may cause destruction to the tooth. This can contribute to wear concavities that need to be repaired by your dentist.
The above suggestions will help to prevent tooth brushing trauma and offer modifications to ensure that no further gum recession occurs. The primary cause of gum recession is addressed through effective preventative measures.
A common symptom of recession is sensitive teeth. Sensitivity can be managed with the use of desensitising toothpastes, fluoride applications, such as gels, varnishes and mouthwashes, the application of desensitising agents and fillings.
If the recession is affecting appearance, making the teeth very sensitive or affecting the ability to clean effectively, surgical procedures may be indicated to replace gum where it has been lost.
Gum recession is not something you should ignore. If you think your gums are receding call us to speak with our friendly team and book a consultation with a specialist periodontist.