Many people notice smiles first. Those with receding gums not only have problems with their smile but also may have issues eating. Receding gums can make it hard and even painful to eat, drink, brush your teeth, and floss.
Gum disease is prevalent in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did a study and found that half of Americans over the age of 30 had either an advanced stage of gum or periodontal disease.
Dentists blame poor brushing and flossing habits as the leading cause of gum disease. However, there can be other contributing factors such as a lack of dental insurance for routine care, dietary habits, genetics, and other health issues like asthma, respiratory issues, snoring, and dry mouth caused by diabetes.
Seeing your dentist at least twice a year can help stop the sticky build-up of plaque and tartar that lead to gum disease and receding gum lines. However, those who are prone to such problems may find they need to take extra measures to prevent receding gum lines from causing worse issues.
Extra measures could include anything from dietary changes to surgery
Receding gums can go unnoticed until they cause pain. You may not realize how bad they are until you visit the dentist and they notice a problem with your teeth or jawbones. One of the biggest problems with receding gums is they can lead to teeth loss or even jaw bone loss.
There are signs when you have receding gums and those who notice early signs will have a better chance of saving your teeth. Below are some of the early indicators.
You have bone loss
Those who are experiencing tooth or bone loss should also be checked for receding gums. While receding gums can cause bone loss, losing teeth or bone can also be attributed to other factors. Those other factors may also play a role in gum disease and other diseases. Untreated bone loss, whether it’s from age, genetics, or habits like smoking, can be a sign of serious health issues like heart disease and diabetes.
People experiencing tooth or bone loss should go to a dentist to be evaluated for receding gums. It’s important to get treatment for your receding gums as soon as possible.
You are grinding your teeth
Those who grind their teeth are at a higher risk for gum disease. The constant pressure of grinding can cause the bone in the jaw to wear down, leading to gum disease. It also increases sensitivity around the gum line. Grinding your teeth can lead to headaches when you wake up in the morning too.
You have chipped or cracked teeth
Many chipped or cracked teeth happen in an accident. However, those who are noticing them without an accident could have receding gums or periodontal disease. Cracked or chipped teeth are an early indicator of gum disease.
Chipping and cracking are common symptoms of gum recession. It happens when the tissue and bone supporting your teeth become weak due to inflammation. They can no longer hold them in place properly. This causes cracks on the biting surface of your tooth. Eventually, this leads to chips when force is applied during chewing or biting food
A dentist will be able to assess how much damage has been done so far and whether any other oral health problems are contributing. A dentist can also recommend treatment options accordingly.
Your gums bleed when you floss or brush
Bleeding gums are painful and look terrible. More than that, bleeding gums can be a sign that you may have more serious issues than gum disease. Gums that bleed when you brush or floss can be an indication of periodontal disease.
Those with bleeding gums should seek dental treatment. The condition could cause permanent tooth and gum damage if left untreated. It can also be a sign that you have systemic health problems like heart disease or diabetes.
You have sensitive teeth around the gum line
Mouth sensitivity around the teeth and gums is a sign of gum disease. Bacteria, plaque, and tartar buildup on the teeth can cause receding gums, which leads to sensitive teeth or gums. Going for regular dental cleanings, daily flossing, and an antibacterial mouthwash can help treat these types of problems. Talk to your dentist about treatment options for receding gums. People with any of these symptoms should talk to their dentist about how to treat receding gums.
The first line of treatment for receding gums is deep teeth cleaning. This is an advanced procedure performed by a dentist. It is more than a typical cleaning done by a hygienist because the dentist cleans below the gums rather than just around the gum line and in between teeth.
Those with serious gum disease have other treatment options available including:
- Gum grafting is a surgical procedure that involves taking tissue from another part of your mouth and attaching it to the gums around your teeth. This helps cover exposed roots so they can heal properly and avoid decay.
- Periodontal surgery involves removing diseased gum tissue from around teeth and then reattaching healthy tissues to their original positions. This will leave you with stitches or stapling devices. The surgery is one way to reduce inflammation in areas where bleeding occurs during brushing or flossing. The little spaces where the bleeding occurs are called pockets.
Gum disease that results in tooth loss may lead to your dentist recommending dental implants. These are permanent replacement teeth rather than using removable dentures.
Implants last longer than dentures. They involve inserting metal screws into the jawbone, which act as anchors. Then, artificial teeth are attached to the screws later.
Your gums are an important part of your oral health, so you must pay attention to any changes or symptoms. If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or someone else, make sure to talk with your dentist about treatment options for receding gums.