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Worried About Receding Gums?

02/02/17 COMMENTS 0

Are you concerned you may have receding gums? There are several steps you can take at home that may serve as effective treatment for receding gums, depending on the severity of the problem. The first step for addressing any oral health matter is to schedule an appointment with your dentist to determine the best course of action.

Causes of Gum Recession

Receding GumsGingival recession, or gum recession, is what happens when gum tissue is recessed and lowers its position on the tooth, exposing the roots of the teeth. This can be caused by any number of life habits, and your course of treatment is often dependent on the cause of the problem.

The following are some of the most common causes of gum recession:

  • Overly aggressive brushing or flossing. It’s great to be enthusiastic about oral care, but according to an article in the Journal of Periodontology Online, you should make sure that you’re brushing, not scrubbing! Never use a toothbrush that isn’t labeled “soft.” Be gentle on your teeth, and remember that taking care of them isn’t supposed to hurt.
  • Genetics. Your gums’ characteristics are determined by your genetics, just as the rest of your body is. If one or both of your parents have gum recession, you’re at a higher risk for receding gums.
  • Abnormal tooth positioning. If your teeth are not in alignment to one another, gum recession can occur in this situation.
  • Grinding your teeth, or bruxism. Do you often wake up with a headache? Does your spouse or partner complain that you grind your teeth? This habit can be the cause of many dental maladies, not just gum recession, so let your dentist know right away if you think you are grinding your teeth. Teeth grinding can be treated easily and painlessly with a mouth guard and several other options.
  • Trauma to gum tissue. The gum tissue may recede when a traumatic injury has occurred on a tooth or teeth.
  • Poor oral health. If your oral health habits are questionable, gum recession may be a result of periodontitis.

Don’t worry. No matter what caused your gum recession, there is a treatment.

Receding Gums Treatment

If you are only mildly affected by receding gums, that’s great! Catching it early means that you likely won’t require professional treatment to fix it. Your dentist will help you identify the cause and will instruct you in how to address it. You may have to re-evaluate your flossing habits, get a mouth guard and buy a different (very soft) toothbrush.

If you do need treatment, your dentist will work with a periodontist, a gum specialist, to decide on the best course of action. Along with helping you change the habits that caused the gum recession, your dentist will determine whether you would benefit from a special, deeper cleaning called a scaling and root planing. This is frequently the solution when your gum recession is caused by periodontitis. You’ll also receive a new toothbrush and instructions in how best to care for your mouth to help it recover.

Depending on the cause of your gum recession, you may have to have surgical treatment. This procedure will be done by your periodontist and is called a gum graft. Your periodontist can tell you more about this procedure and what to expect.

Taking care of your oral health is very important. Your mouth is a great indicator of your general wellness, and an oral infection can affect your whole body. Be gentle with your teeth, and contact us if you experience persistent discomfort.

Warning Signs of Gum Disease

01/09/17 COMMENTS 0

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. Also referred to as periodontal disease, gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth.

Here are some warning signs that can signal a problem:

  • gums that bleed easily
  • red, swollen, tender gums
  • gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • persistent bad breath or bad taste
  • permanent teeth that are loose or separating
  • any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • any change in the fit of partial dentures

Some factors increase the risk of developing gum disease. They are:

  • poor oral hygiene
  • smoking or chewing tobacco
  • genetics
  • crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean
  • pregnancy
  • diabetes
  • medications, including steroids, certain types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives

If you suspect you have gum disease – please take the time to schedule an appointment with us. The sooner you treat it the better. The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. If you have gingivitis, your gums may become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by a professional cleaning at your dental office, followed by daily brushing and flossing.

Advanced gum disease is called periodontitis. Chronic periodontitis affects 47.2% of adults over 30 in the United States. It can lead to the loss of tissue and bone that support the teeth and it may become more severe over time. If it does, your teeth will feel loose and start moving around in your mouth. This is the most common form of periodontitis in adults but can occur at any age. It usually gets worse slowly, but there can be periods of rapid progression.

Aggressive periodontitis is a highly destructive form of periodontal disease that occurs in patients who are otherwise healthy. Common features include rapid loss of tissue and bone and may occur in some areas of the mouth, or in the entire mouth.

Research between systemic diseases and periodontal diseases is ongoing. While a link is not conclusive, some studies indicate that severe gum disease may be associated with several other health conditions such as diabetes or stroke.

It is possible to have gum disease and have no warning signs. That is one reason why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Good dental care at home is essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring. Remember: You don’t have to lose teeth to gum disease. Brush your teeth twice a day, clean between your teeth daily, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

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