Receding Gums: What It Is – What Causes It – What To Do About It


The Cause

There are a number of causes for receding gums the most common is gum disease. This occurs when bacteria in the mouth bond and form plaque.  Plaque can irritate and inflame the gums. As the inflammation worsens the plaque can drive a wedge between the teeth and gums. When this happens the gum tissue is eroded away by the waste that these bacteria produce.  This erosion causes a recessed appearance.

Overly-Aggressive Oral Hygiene

Brushing too aggressively is an easy fix. It is important to remember that your gums are made of a soft, sensitive tissue that is easily damaged when it is brushed too harshly. You may consider switching to a soft bristled toothbrush and brush in a gentle and circular motion.  However if you use an electric toothbrush just allow it to do the work and do not try using it like a traditional toothbrush.  The additional motions is much too aggressive on your gums.

Buildup Of Harmful Bacteria

The buildup of harmful bacteria in the mouth can be a bit more difficult to control. Regardless of what you do you will ALWAYS have bacteria in your mouth. Saliva is a natural defense mechanism built in for fighting these bacteria.  The saliva is very rich in oxygen and full of important enzymes that fight the harmful bacteria in your mouth. The down side is that the effectiveness of the saliva is altered by the food you eat, the regiment you follow when brushing your teeth, and the oral care products that you use.

Other Causes For Receding Gums

There are also situations where the structure of the mouth in general can make someone predisposed to receding gums. If the layer of bone around a newly formed tooth isn’t thick enough then the gum tissue that forms around it will be thinner as well. This can make it more fragile and not able to withstand the normal forces that are applied to it from chewing food and proper brushing.

The Signs

One thing that separates this condition from other conditions of gum disease is how easy it is to diagnose. Many times other variations of gum disease go on unnoticed because there is no pain or visible difference associated with them. When faced with receding gums you can visibly tell that something is wrong.
You will also notice that your teeth are more sensitive to touch and to foods or drinks that are hot or cold. This is a result of the gum recession exposing the root of the tooth.


Stage 1
Stage 2
• Pink
• Tight to teeth
• Scalloped appearance around each tooth
• Swollen
• Bleeding
• Bright red
• Tender to touch
• Gums pull away from teeth
• Loose teeth
• Pus between teeth and gums
• Roots visible
• Temperature sensitivity
• Inflamed gums with pus
• Tooth loss

The Dangers

Receded gums can be a sign of more serious gum conditions on the horizon. They can also be a warning sign for some very serious health issues that would never be considered linked to gum issues.  Such conditions as periodontal disease has proven to be linked to serious conditions as:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Respiratory disease
  • Heart attack
  • Diabetes
  • Premature and underweight babies

Taking care of this condition is crucial in ensuring that your gum condition does not worsen and it is very important to maintain your body’s overall health.

Methods Of Prevention

The best way to prevent receding gums is to pay close attention to the types of food you eat and by making sure that you use an effective oral hygiene regiment daily. The best oral hygiene plan include:

  • flossing your teeth in the morning and evening
  • brushing your teeth after you floss
  • using a mouthwash or rinse

The mouthwash will inhibit bacteria and prevent it from growing at dangerous levels.

Forms Of Treatment

An unfortunate truth about the receding of the gums is that they are never really thought about from a preventative standpoint. Typically people do not do research on them until something is really wrong. Several clinical studies have shown that no product is available that will help gums grow back once they’ve receded.

If you already have this particular condition then you need to take preventative measures. Do what you can to keep your gums from worsening and concentrate on keeping your mouth healthy and clean to avoid further complications. Receding gums can lead to very costly dental procedures that could be required to keep your teeth.

What To Do About It And Being Proactive

The most important thing to do if you’re suffering from receding gums is to take action that will prevent it from worsening. This means not only sticking to a strict oral hygiene plan but also adjusting it so that you do not cause more physical damage. At this point it becomes more important to brush more gently, and use a mouth rinse that will get to the places where harmful bacteria grow to stop them from multiplying. Most commercial mouthwashes are loaded with chemical additives that can dry the mouth inherently increasing bacteria growth. In these cases, it is best to look for natural alternatives, we suggest OraMD.