Receding gums can be a threat to the appearance, comfort, and health of your smile. There are some causes of receding gums that you can’t do anything about, such as the structure and resilience of your gum tissue. But there are some things you can do to stop gum recession ideally before it starts.
One of the biggest impacts on your oral health and the state of your gums is tobacco use. Both smoking and smokeless tobacco can badly damage your gums, making them more likely to recede. This goes beyond gum recession–tobacco use can increase your risk of tooth loss by a factor of three or more.
So quitting tobacco is one of the most important things you can do to protect your gums–and your overall health. Although vaping is probably not totally safe for your gums, switching from smoking could help.
Clean Your Teeth Well
Plaque buildup doesn’t just increase your risk of cavities. Oral bacteria can colonize the area between your teeth and gums. They release damaging acids that can cause your gums to swell, bleed, and, eventually, recede.
It’s important to keep your teeth clean with twice daily brushing and daily flossing to ensure that your gums stay health and remain in their youthful position.
Don’t Brush Too Hard
While it’s important to keep your teeth clean, it’s also important to make sure you’re not brushing your teeth too hard. Plaque is very soft, it’s easy to remove with gentle strokes of the toothbrush. When you brush too hard, though, you might damage your gums, which can make them recede. So make sure you’re brushing gently. Some electric toothbrushes have sensors that can tell you if you’re brushing too hard, which can help.
Straighten Your Teeth
During orthodontic treatment, your gums may be at risk for recession. You have to take special care of your teeth and gums while you have braces on your teeth.
But once your braces are off and your teeth are straight, you will have a much lower risk of gum disease, perhaps 50% lower risk! With lower gum disease risk comes lower risk of receding gums.
Avoid the Grind
Clenching and grinding your teeth can lead to receding gums. It might not seem logical, but it can, especially if your teeth are crooked. Clenching and grinding can inflict forces 10 times greater than normal chewing on your teeth. This can damage them badly, causing small fractures at the tooth where the enamel is thinnest: the neck of the tooth, which is right at the gumline. The small enamel pieces lead to gum irritation and, eventually, receding gums.
Get Rid of Oral Piercings
Oral piercings can contribute to receding gums in many ways. They can collect oral bacteria, as well as cause mechanical irritation of the gums. Some research suggests that tongue piercings are much worse, but all oral piercings can be problematic.
See Your Dentist
Although your home oral hygiene makes a big difference in the health of your gums, you can’t do it alone. Even the best brushers miss a little bit of plaque in hard-to-reach places. This plaque absorbs minerals in your saliva to become hard like a rock. This is tartar, which can shelter bacteria and contribute to gum disease.
Too Late for Prevention?
If you follow these tips, you’ll find that your risk of receding gums is much lower than it would be otherwise. Minor gum recession might stop. But if you’ve already experienced receding gums, we can help. Gum rejuvenation can restore your gums to their youthful position and give you a second chance to protect your gums.