Many people have receding gums, and this complaint – part functional and part cosmetic – tends to become more common as people age. The condition is so common, in fact, that many people simply assume that it’s a normal sign of aging, particularly among men, who are more likely to suffer from this complaint. Unlike fine lines and wrinkles or even thinning hair, however, receding gums are both an oral health issue in their own right and a potential indicator that something more serious may be going on.
Receding Gums – More Than Just A Visual Issue
When we talk about receding gums, it’s easy to think that the only symptom is a visible change to your gum line, but even if you don’t see any differences when you look at your teeth, other symptoms could point to this issue. In particular, since receding gums can lead to pockets between the teeth and gums where bacteria collect, many people with this issue experience bad breath, pain, bleeding when brushing and flossing, and even loose teeth.
Causes Of Receding Gums – From Gingivitis To Genetics
One reason that receding gums are so common in the general population is because there are a wide variety of conditions that can lead to this particular problem. Some, like gingivitis, can be easily managed by seeing your dentist regularly. In other cases, people are predisposed to receding gums simply because it runs in the family.
In addition to these mundane causes, there are certain health conditions and behaviors that can make people more prone to receding gums. These include such things are brushing your teeth too hard – yes, there is such a thing, to known unhealthy behaviors like smoking, as well as being HIV+ or having diabetes, which can compromise blood flow, leading to oral health problems.
Managing And Treating Receding Gums
By the time you’ve become concerned about having receding gums, there may not be much you can do to circumvent the problem, but you can still take steps to treat it and prevent your current case from getting worse. One way to do this is by restoring the gum line, either through grafting or using a less invasive technique known as pinhole surgery.
Unlike a traditional soft tissue graft, pinhole surgery yields immediate results without scalpels or sutures, making it a quicker and less painful solution to receding gums. Additionally, by quickly repairing the receding gum and restoring the natural gum line, this procedure prevents further damage like tooth loss from occurring down the line.
While pinhole surgery is an excellent choice for many people with receding gums, in some cases, the damage is so extensive that patients require a regenerative procedure. In these cases, the dentist needs to place a graft or other tissue-stimulating material beneath the gum line to encourage lost bone and tissue regrowth. This is typically only done when there is bone loss in addition to tissue loss.
As common as receding gums are, if you are still young and take care of your health – both oral and general – you can minimize the likelihood that you’ll develop them. Quit smoking if you currently use cigarettes, brush and floss twice daily, and see your dentist regularly. If caught early, you can treat the issue before more serious damage is done.