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While the focus of someone’s mouth tends to be on the teeth, healthy gums are just as important. Receding gums may cause sensitivity, and sometimes bad breath. It is important to be aware of the methods available to stop receding gums in order to avoid these uncomfortable side effects.

The Gums’ Role

Gums are made of soft tissues. They provide support while surrounding the teeth on all sides. When completely healthy, gums fit snugly around the teeth. Recession occurs when the gumline pulls away from the teeth, thus making the teeth look longer than normal. Recession likely won’t be the only symptom that something’s wrong. See if your gums are sensitive. That will let you know to schedule a consultation with your dentist. Here are some signs of gum sensitivity to watch for.

  • Gums are swollen and tender
  • Gums bleed easily
  • Bad breath as an end product

Receding Gums Causes

Knowing the symptoms of receding gums is a good first step. Now it’s time to focus on what can cause those symptoms:

  • Poor oral care. Neglecting the care of your teeth and gums can lead to conditions like gingivitis and periodontal disease.
  • Bruxism. If you think you suffer from teeth grinding, schedule a consultation with your dentist.
  • Aggressive brushing. Brushing your teeth harder than necessary will do more harm than good.
  • Genetics. Mom and Dad might be to blame if they both suffered from receding gums.
  • Gum tissue trauma. A serious tooth injury could be the culprit.

Ceasing the habits within your control can reverse the recession process. Improving your oral care and brushing your teeth more gently are two immediate changes you can make.

Treatment Options

If your gums have receded to a point where changing certain habits are unable to reverse the issue, there are other options, according to the Mayo Clinic. Gum grafting is when a periodontist uses healthy tissue to cover and repair the affected area. It’s a fairly standard periodontal surgery that requires a local anesthetic. Regeneration therapy is another surgical option. It’s designed to restore gum tissue and repair damaged or lost bone due to periodontal disease. The affected gum area is surgically flapped back and the periodontist removes the bacteria. Once the area is cleaned, a bone matrix or proteins are placed in the area of bone loss to stimulate the regrowth of bone and tissue.

Having a brilliant smile means showing your gums the same attention as you do your teeth. A good plan to keep your whole mouth healthy is a key factor to stop receding gums. To start, brush your teeth at least two times per day, and remember to floss daily. The combination of brushing and flossing eliminates plaque and food particles that can contribute to gum disease, from which receding gums can result. Finally, don’t forget to schedule regular checkups with your dentist. He or she is an expert on identifying receding gums and helping you resolve the issue.