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After clearing up your periodontal disease with a deep cleaning, your dentist might have said you had gum recession. But what causes it?

What Causes Gum Recession?

After clearing up your periodontal disease with a deep cleaning, your dentist might have said you had gum recession. But what causes it?

Gum recession certainly isn’t fun. As a matter of fact, it’s quite the opposite—it’s incredibly unpleasant. When you have receding gums, you usually experience with red, achy gums that bleed when you brush and floss them. And because you’ve got exposed teeth roots, you can expect a constant soreness and sensitivity around the area. But what causes gum recession, anyway?

Well, several things. Gum recession—also known as gingival recession—can occur when your oral bacteria accumulate to a certain extent. Those who also regularly brush their teeth vigorously with hard-bristled toothbrushes are also likely to have this problem.

That being said, why do these things trigger receding gums in the first place? And what can one do to stop the gingival recession?

Thin Gum Tissue and Bone is the Leading Cause of Gum Recession

Before we delve into what causes receding gums, we should first ask why the gingival recession occurs in the first place. Basically, when your gum tissue and underlying bone is thin enough, the gums pull back under strain. Because the gums are in a fragile place, any sustained pressure—such as aggressive brushing and bruxism—could cause it to recede further.

But why do the gum tissue and bone turn thin in the first place? For the most part, it seems like gum disease is the main culprit. When plaque builds up to a certain point, the gums become irritated by the bacteria and get inflamed. If it’s not remedied immediately, the inflammatory response eventually breaks down the gum tissue and bone. The gum tissue thins as a result, and  the bone dissipates. This action, in turn, creates the deep pockets you find in people who suffer from periodontitis. It’s also here where a dentist conducts a deep cleaning.

Aside from this, the gums may naturally recede as a result of its placement. If the gum tissue is in a place where a tooth is tilted, this causes the gums to retreat.

What Causes Receding Gums?

Now that we know why gum recession happens, it’s a little clearer what the next steps you need to take to prevent it from happening. But not all cases of gingival recession are the same. Because of this, the way you treat your receding gums might vary.

What, then, are your usual suspects when it comes to gum recession?

  • Periodontal disease. When you get any type of periodontal disease, your gum tissues and bones experience collateral damage. In turn, your body’s immune system must battle the toxins release by plaque bacteria. This may be too much for the immune system to handle on its own. If periodontal disease is what causes your gingival recession, a good deep cleaning should help mitigate the effects. Otherwise, in severe cases, you might need to undergo gum surgery.
  • Malocclusion. When your teeth are out of alignment, this can put a strain on your gums. Because parts of your teeth are out of alignment, some of the underlying bone might not be able to provide the support your gums need, causing them to recede. In this case, fixing up your teeth might be able to do the trick.
  • Bad dental habits. This includes bruxism and overly aggressive brushing. When you do this, you aggravate the already thin tissue into retreating further. In this case, your gums might look a little better once you stop these habits. 
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