OMG UPDATE: Question? Answer.

Updated on Monday, December 16

#5576

QUESTION: My gums are receding. Anyone know what will help? I've recently been to the dentist and they didn't say anything other than to keep an eye on it.

4 comments

  1. Switch to sensitive toothbrushes and toothpastes, and focus on brushing technique and motion rather than brushing hard. Brush, or at least rinse your mouth out after every meal, and floss at least once, but floss slowly so you're not cutting into your already weak gums too much. Proper dental care is the basics.

    Nutrition also plays a role and you and look into that.

    Also, if you're in to "natural treatment" things that some people believe in, and others think is hogwash (I have no opinion on it), you can look into things like oil pulling... But always be careful with things like that.

    Good luck! Take care of yourself, and make sure you have a good dentist who can perhaps help you identify where you're going wrong or if there's a bigger issue.

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  2. Gum recession is irreversible; however, gums can be repaired through gum transplant surgery. This is a last resort option though, it's unpleasant and RIDICULOUSLY expensive. The best way to deal with gum recession is to keep a healthy mouth and monitor the recession.

    As #1 said, you may be able to halt your recession by changing your brushing technique. There are literally scores of videos on youtube if you search the phrase, "proper brushing technique". And they all provide almost exactly the same advice, so I won't repeat it here. Regardless of the video you can properly brush using either a manual or automatic toothbrush.

    Improper brushing places stresses on the gums, or may actually miss cleaning sections of the gums, which may lead to gum recession. Most people should brush with a "soft" bristled brush, there is little reason to use firmer types. Gum cleaning is as important, if not more important, than tooth cleaning when brushing.

    Other factors also play a role. When I sleep at night I tend to clench my jaw and I have no control over this; but that constant force every night for 6 to 9 hours effects the gums very slowly over the years.

    There are other, what I'm going to call "steric" or "tooth spacing" factors as well. People who have poorly aligned teeth may face gum recession issues. A tooth which has not grown in properly places stresses on the gums, and over a number years those stresses wear the gum down near that tooth. Even people who had braces can face this issue: in cases where teeth were too crowded and one, or some, should have been removed but weren't, the crowded teeth will move over years and place stresses on the gums.

    However, by far, the most prevalent cause of gum recession is gingivitis! I'm willing to bet you don't suffer from gingivitis or periodontal disease because if you did your dentist would have noted that as the likely cause and would have suggested a consultation with a periodontist.

    Monitor your gum recession with your dentist, have talk with them at cleanings if you're concerned. Gum recession should be a very slow process, so consider taking photos of your gums around the time you get cleanings done (every 6 to 9 months), you can compare photos over time to see how your gums are doing.

    Keep in mind there are two type of gum (gingiva): attached and free (google it if you want to find out how to tell the difference). Recession happens slowly in attached gingiva and can be monitored and halted there. However, recession happens quickly in free gingiva. If your recession has reached the free gingiva in your mouth then it's time to see a periodontist.

    I hope this helped.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, and flossing. Flossing. Flossing. Flossing. Flossing. Flossing.

      Flossing is the only and best way to keep your gums healthy. Flossing removes bacteria which cause tartar build up between the gums and tooth. When tartar builds up under the gum it causes minor detachment and creates and environment for bacteria to breed. These bacteria excrete various toxins which places an environmental stressor on your gums, and again they slowly over a lot of time, result in gum recession. I didn't really mention this before because this cause of gum recession is closely linked to gingivitis and periodontal disease, which I figured your dentist would have mentioned. .

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  3. Use a "very soft" toothbrush for starters and do not aggravate the gums (even though moderate stimulation/gentle flossing is good for them). Make sure that you use gentle toothpaste and try to include natural antiplaquing agents in your diet (such as oolong tea). The main problem is likely over flossing/mechanical damage so try to be as gentle as possible when brushing etc... Also stay away from calcifying agents like teeth whiteners.

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