According to the National Institutes of Health, over 50 percent of Americans age 18 to 64 have one or more sites in their oral cavity where gum tissue has receded more than 1mm. And this puts their oral health in jeopardy. Along with being unsightly, gum recession can cause tooth decay, gum infection, and even tooth loss the longer it goes untreated.
What Causes Receding Gums?
When discussing gum recession, it can happen for numerous reasons. But practicing good oral hygiene is one of the best things an individual can do to help keep their gums firm and in place. According to nearly all dentists, gingivitis and periodontal disease, both born from poor oral hygiene, are the most common causes of gum recession in adults.
Using an incorrect brushing technique could contribute to receding gums as well. The gingival margin is the part of the gum that comes into contact with the tooth’s crown. Brushing incorrectly or too hard can damage this area, which may trigger gum inflammation and recession. Improper brushing and gum disease are not the only things that can cause a receding gum line. The following are also known contributors:
- Teeth grinding
- Facial trauma
- Hormonal changes
- Being vitamin C deficient
- Improper brushing
Along with increased tooth sensitivity, having a receding gum line can also alter the appearance of one’s teeth, causing them to appear longer.The space in between each of their teeth might increase as well.
How to Treat a Receding Gum Line: Can Receding Gums Grow Back?
Sadly, gum tissue cannot grow back once it has started to recede; however, there is some good news. Dentists can perform a procedure known as a gum graft to pull a patient’s gums back over most of their teeth, which reduces pain and discomfort resulting from exposed tooth roots. At the same time, a gum graft can markedly improve their overall smile. On average, gum grafting takes about an hour or so to complete, and thanks to Novocain and other local anesthetics, the procedure is not overly painful. As far as healing is concerned, it usually takes about 7 to 10 days to heal from a gum graft procedure.
How to Care for Receding Gums
For the 7 to 10 days needed to heal following a gum graft, dentists will provide patients with instructions on what they must do to avoid infection and other complications. Some of these instructions may include the following:
- Rinsing the mouth out with an antimicrobial mouthwash
- Not brushing or flossing in any part of the oral cavity that underwent the gum graft
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers as needed
- Avoiding hot or overly spicy foods
- Eating primarily soft foods, such as cottage cheese, ice cream, eggs, oatmeal, and yogurt
In summary, gums do not grow back once they have started receding. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do to stop things from spiraling further out of control. To learn more about how gum grafts can help combat gum recession, consider scheduling a consultation with Midway Family and Cosmetic Dentistry today.