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Receding gums can be a real eyesore that affects a person's entire self image. Here is everything that you need to know about why they occur and how they can be prevented or treated.

Receding gums — and in fact all other gum diseases — are notoriously hard to prevent, because they do not cause any direct pain. It is only after a certain amount of destruction has occurred that other associated symptoms may start to arise which include pain, sensitivity, and an esthetically compromised smile.

This condition is also extremely technique sensitive to correct and even that may not be possible every single time.

What Are The Causes Of Gum Recession?

The first step to being able to prevent the gums from receding is to know what causes it. Here are some of the causes responsible:

1. Overzealous Brushing

Yes, you heard that right. By trying to brush a little harder or a little longer than advised, you actually end up harming the teeth and gums rather than strengthening them. People who are getting regular check-ups and scaling done at the dentist should not have this problem as the damage caused should be detectable at an early stage and a modification of the brushing technique can then be implemented.

Your dentist is likely to advise the use of a soft brush that is to be used gently and a maximum brushing frequency of twice a day. Numerous studies have shown that brushing more times than that can actually be counterproductive.

2. Irregularly Placed Teeth

The gums follow the bone that supports the teeth and so in areas where the teeth are placed more outwardly than normal, a thinner supporting bone leads to an increased likelihood of recession.

While getting orthodontic treatment to correct the position of the teeth will not treat any recession that has occurred, orthodontic treatment does have great potential in preventing receding gums.

3. Poor Oral Hygiene

The starting point of almost every oral problem is the accumulation of plaque and tartar which happens through poor oral hygiene. Receding gums are no different. Brushing twice a day and getting your teeth cleaned professionally every six months (or once a year at the minimum) is the best way to ensure that the gums do not start to recede.

4. Smoking

No other factor has been linked as closely to the occurrence of receding gums as smoking has. The exact reason as to why it occurs is still not clear, however, it is likely that direct trauma to the gums and a change in the local immune response play major roles.

There are many more serious and life-threatening reasons to quit smoking and it seems that a decreased incidence of recession of the gums is one of the benefits to be enjoyed by non-smokers.

5. Trauma 

Direct trauma to the teeth or gums from a physical blow or an accident can also be responsible for the occurrence of recession. Indirect trauma as that caused by a habit of grinding the teeth can cause a more widespread recession of gums in the number of teeth involved.

These causes are relatively easy to identify through a thorough clinical history and a close examination of the kind of trauma that has occurred. 

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