Many years ago, an older person would often be described as being “long in the tooth.” The reason for this was that people up in age, would often experience gum recession so significant that teeth looked longer. A century or more ago, severe gum recession may have been common. Today, dentists have more tools than ever, and more information, with which to help patients avoid the onset and progression of gum disease and receding gums
. In our office near Woodstock
, Dr. Breckley and Dr. Vo take a proactive approach to gum disease.
Dealing with receding gums can be difficult because changes in tissue most often take place at a slow pace. The tissue changes that occur in the mouth may be linked to a number of factors, including:
- Gum disease, the primary cause of tooth loss in America today. As gum tissue becomes infected, weakened by oral bacteria, the gums slowly break down. Eventually, gum disease can lead to the exposure of more tooth surface, including the roots.
- Aggressive brushing is something many people do innocently, in an effort to make sure teeth are adequately cleaned. Brushing teeth too hard, or with harsh bristles, can lead to abrasions on enamel, and on gum tissue. Your dentist and hygienist are able to recognize abrasions, and discuss with you ways in which teeth can be cleaned successfully with a gentler technique. Often, simply ensuring flossing takes place after brushing leads to a cleaner feeling.
- Fluctuations in hormones, especially those that occur in women during pregnancy and menopause, have been shown to place one at a greater risk for gum disease. Hormonal imbalances can make gum tissue more susceptible to inflammation and recession.
- Genetics are an important factor in the risk for gum disease. We work with our patients to address gum disease early, taking preventive measures to combat predisposition.
- Misalignment is detrimental in a number of ways. Not only do crooked, crowded teeth affect the look of the smile, misalignment also increases the risk of gum recession because undue pressure is placed on gum and bone tissue when teeth are not properly aligned.
It is a common assumption that receding gums are the result of poor oral hygiene. Although a factor, hygiene is not the only possible cause for receding gums. Your dentist provides ongoing care and thorough monitoring of teeth and gums so that you can enjoy optimal oral health for life.