Stop Receding Gums from Getting Worse
If a person’s teeth start appearing longer or are not sitting as firmly in the mouth as they used to, chances are they could be suffering from receding gums. As gum recession progresses, the gums pull away from the teeth and could leave the tooth roots exposed. While a consultation with a dentist is a recommended first step if gum recession is suspected, patients may be curious about their options to prevent the condition from getting worse.
Preventing Receding Gums
Preventing the causes of gum recession is the best way to prevent the condition and fortunately, there are several steps that can be taken.
- Stop Smoking or Using Tobacco: Smoking and using tobacco products not only negatively impact overall health, they can also have detrimental effects on dental health. Harmful bacteria in the mouth are increased in smokers. Quitting the use of tobacco or smoking can help prevent gum disease, gum recession, tooth decay, and other negative side effects.
- Proper Oral Hygiene Regimen: Gum disease and poor oral health are the primary contributors to gum recession. As such, properly cleaning the teeth is vital to maintaining a healthy mouth and stopping recession. Flossing should be done daily and antibacterial mouthwash should used regularly. Brushing should be done twice daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush and should not be overly forceful. Overly aggressive brushing can damage the gum tissue and lead to recession so consult with a dentist to ensure brushing technique is appropriate.
- Healthy Diet: Diet plays a role in both oral and overall health so eating healthy foods is important. Vitamin and nutrient rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, discourage bacteria in the mouth which can help minimize plaque. Because the harmful bacteria in the mouth thrive on sugars, avoiding sugary foods can help prevent the inflammation and irritation of the gums that leads to recession.
- Regular Dentist Visits: If they are not already part of an overall health plan, regular dental checkups should be incorporated. At a minimum, patients should visit the dentist every six months for an examination and cleaning. The dentist or hygienist will remove any plaque or tartar buildup which could cause gum disease. They will also monitor gum health for any signs of gum disease and make recommendations for preventative measures.
- Deep Cleaning Procedures: In mild cases of gum recession, the dentist may recommend a deep cleaning procedure. Called tooth scaling and root planing, this procedure removes plaque and tartar buildup above and below the gumline. During the procedure, gum tissue is peeled back to expose the tooth roots. The roots are then smoothed down so that bacteria have more difficulty attaching to the surface. Antibiotics may also be applied to the gums before they are sealed back up.
- Treat Conditions: Certain conditions, like crooked or misaligned teeth, can contribute to gum recession so it is important to treat them. Other conditions, such as clenching or grinding the teeth, can be combated through the use of a nightguard (mouthguard) to reduce wear on the teeth and gums.
- Avoid or Remove Facial Piercings: Piercings of the lips, tongue, or cheeks, can rub against the gums. This irritates the gum tissue and can wear it away over time. Avoiding or removing any piercings from these areas can help prevent the risk of gum recession.