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the science of smilesI’ve talked about gum health many times over the last several years. I’ve also warned patients about paying close attention to receding gums. In fact, we check for receding gums by taking gum line measurements at every dental visit.

Why?

Besides attractively showcasing your teeth, your gums also protect your teeth and underlying bone from bacteria and abrasive food particles. Sometimes, though, the gums can pull back or recede from the teeth, leaving them exposed and vulnerable to damage and disease.

(RELATED: Drinking Alcohol Linked to High Risk of Gum Disease)

Here are 4 things that could contribute to gum recession—and what you can do about them.

Periodontal (gum) disease: This is by far the most common cause for recession. Triggered by bacterial plaque, gum disease can cause the gums to detach and then recede from the teeth. To prevent gum disease, you should practice daily brushing and flossing and see your dentist at least twice a year to thoroughly remove plaque. And see your dentist as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment at the first sign of red, swollen or bleeding gums.

Tooth position: While a tooth normally erupts surrounded by bone, sometimes it erupts out of correct alignment and is therefore outside the bony housing and protective gum tissue. Orthodontic treatment to move teeth to better positions can correct this problem, as well as stimulate the gum tissues around the involved teeth to thicken and become more resistant to recession.

(RELATED: FAQ: Is it Normal For Gums to Bleed After a 6-Month Checkup?)

Thin gum tissues. Thin gum tissues, a quality you inherit from your parents, are more susceptible to wear and tear and so more likely to recede. If you have thin gum tissues you’ll need to stay on high alert for any signs of disease or problems. And you should also be mindful of our next common cause, which is….

Overaggressive hygiene. While it seems counterintuitive, brushing doesn’t require a lot of “elbow grease” to remove plaque. A gentle scrubbing motion over all your tooth surfaces is usually sufficient. On the other hand, applying too much force (or brushing too often) can damage your gums over time and cause them to recede. Aggressive toothbrushing can be specially problematic for people with thinner gum tissues. So brush gently but thoroughly to protect your gums.

ABOUT THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®

THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently situated with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we offer most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures, complete dental rebuilding, sleep apnea, and TMJ/ Headache management. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover affordable up-to-date dentistry and a team who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.

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