Receding gums are caused by periodontal disease, an inflammation of the gums. If left untreated, the inflammation leads to permanently receding gums.
Receding gums – what are the causes?
Bacteria ingested with food wet the teeth and form a film on the teeth, which is also known as plaque in specialist circles. Bacteria feel at home in this covering and like to multiply. Besides, these germs excrete degradation products from their metabolic processes, which in the long-term cause inflammation of the gums (gingivitis).
Regular, correct, and twice-daily brushing with the toothbrush removes this plaque and minimizes the risk of infections. In contrast, poor oral hygiene promotes receding gums and leads to permanent gum recession in the long term. Then, if there is a permanent excessive accumulation of bacteria, periodontitis (periodontal disease) develops.
If the teeth are not properly cared for over the long term, the plaque builds up, and adhering tartar develops, which promotes periodontitis and thus the regression of the gums.
What promotes gum disease?
Usually, the disease occurs in families, so that a genetic cause plays a role in gum disease. Besides, poor oral hygiene creates a breeding ground for germs, which promotes receding gums. Smoking is also a risk factor. Nicotine constricts the blood vessels and over time reduces blood flow in the mouth. Defense cells are so bad at fighting pathogens. The risk of gum disease is therefore greatly increased. Periodontitis affects over half of all smokers.
Briefly: What promotes receding gums?
- Family background
- Insufficient dental care
- Unhealthy diet
- Metabolic diseases
What symptoms do you use to recognize receding gums?
An infection in the mouth is initially silent. Patients rarely notice the inflammation in the beginning. The first symptoms appear selectively and are the first warning signs. These include small redness or blood when spitting out the toothpaste, and traces of blood when biting off an apple. Less often, patients notice more redness or swelling. In such cases, it is advisable to visit the dentist to prevent long-term gum recession or even gum recession.
Pay particular attention to:
- intense (more) reddening
- Blood / bleeding when brushing your teeth
- Bleeding gum pockets
- Traces of blood when spitting out the toothpaste
- Blood when using dental floss
- Traces of blood when biting off (apple, pear, …)
It becomes problematic if the inflammation is not only superficial. Over time, the otherwise tightly attached gums on the tooth and tooth neck loosen up. There are gum pockets around the teeth. This change allows the germs to descend more easily in the long term towards the root of the tooth. They then attack the jawbone. If this problem is not treated professionally at the dentist, it will lead to regression of gums and loosening of the teeth over a period. Tooth loss is the result.
Diagnosis of receding gums: how is it diagnosed?
With regular check-ups, your dentist can identify gingivitis at an early stage. During the check-up, not only the teeth but also the gums are checked and assessed.
If there are gums and exposed tooth necks, the dentist measures the depth of the pockets with the probe. Finally, a radiological check is carried out to record the status. A discussion about your oral hygiene is also part of the diagnosis. Incorrect toothbrushing techniques or toothbrushes that are too hard also play an important role in the disease.
Therapy & Treatment: How can you effectively treat receding gums?
Proper and regular dental care is essential to preventing gum disease. The cause of receding gums is almost always poor and incorrect oral hygiene.
Keep the following points in mind when preventing receding gums:
- Brush your teeth every morning and evening
- Floss crooked teeth
- If necessary (bridges, implants, partial dentures) clean the larger interdental spaces with flexible interdental brushes (interdental brushes)
- Ask your dentist which toothbrush is recommended and review your toothbrushing technique together
- Dentists recommend professional teeth cleaning twice a year to reduce plaque in areas where pathogens tend to withdraw
- According to studies, patients who smoke have a 5-6 times higher risk of developing periodontal disease. Changes in the blood vessels in the body make it more difficult to remove pollutants. Pathogens can settle more easily.
- If you suffer from metabolic diseases such as diabetes, make sure that your blood sugar is optimally adjusted. This also reduces the risk of receding gums and gums.