I have receding gums - what can I do?
Receding gums are one of the most common dental problems - especially after the age of 40. So if your dentist tells you that you have "receding gums," don't feel bad - you are not alone!Thing of receding gums as being similar to having a "receding hairline" - it means that your gums are slipping backward, away from their regular position. ("Receding hairlines" are also more common after the age of 40.) Receding gums are a problem because they result in the nerves of your teeth getting exposed - and this can lead to pain and infection. Here are several common causes of receding gums, and ideas for what to do about them: - Overly aggressive brushing. If you're one of those people who likes to scrub your teeth really hard, this could be the reason why your gums are retreating. When you brush too hard, it scares away your gumline - and this can lead to the same dental problems that you were trying to avoid by brushing!
What to do: Lighten up. Use a toothbrush with softer bristles. Or buy an electric toothbrush that will provide a steady, consistent brushing motion.- Not enough brushing and flossing. The opposite end of the dental care spectrum can also lead to receding gums. If you don't brush and floss often enough, bacteria can build up between your teeth, leading to problems with the underlying bone structure of your mouth. What do do: Brush, brush, brush - and floss, too. A lot of people neglect to floss because they feel like they don't have time, or because they don't know how. You've got to discipline yourself to make oral hygiene a regular part of your day. Every night before bed and every morning when you wake up - brush your teeth. Your gums (and your fellow human beings) will appreciate it!
- Gum disease. Often, receding gums can be a sign of a more serious problem like gingivitis or other diseases of the gums. What to do: Make sure to see your dentist regularly - every six months for a checkup. If you're a regular visitor to your dentist's office, he/she can help you keep track of the health of your gums, and can help to correct any serious issues. If you do have gum disease, you might need to be referred to a periodontist, a dental professional who specializes in diseases of the gums.
Other causes. Do you have braces, or are you undergoing other orthodontic work? This can contribute to receding gums, especially for older adults. Do you have any piercings in the lip or tongue? These piercings can rub against the gums, causing the gums to recede. Do you chew tobacco? This can be harmful to the gums as well. Finally, receding gums can also be a sign of eating disorder - repeated vomiting can damage the gums and cause them to recede.
What to do: Talk to your dentist if any of these causes sound familiar - receding gums can be caused by a number of complex factors; it's not always just a matter of changing to a softer toothbrush. What if none of these solutions work? What else can I do to help solve my problem with receding gums? If your receding gums are creating severe discomfort and inconvenience in your life, and none of the other solutions seems to help, you might ask your dentist about "gum grafts." Gum grafts are a type of surgical treatment for extreme cases of receding gums. In a gum graft surgery, a periodontist takes some tissue from the roof of the patient's mouth and implants it onto the area of the gumline that is receding. Another treatment that is still being researched is called "Guided Tissue Regeneration," or GTR. This involves taking some blood cells from the patient and creating a collagen-based membrane which is then placed over the affected area of the gumline. Results from a recent Tufts University study have been promising, but this treatment is not yet widely available. So if you have receding gums, don't worry - it's a common dental problem and there are a number of options for treatment.
Talk to Dr.Glasmeier about how you can be treated for receding gums.
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