Avoiding Gum Recession

Gum Recession Leads to Tooth Loss!

In our last article we focused on identifying periodontal disease. Commonly called gum disease, this problem affects literally millions of Americans and many of our Placerville dental patients. One of the most dangerous aspects of gum disease is obviously the effect on the gums themselves. Over time, periodontal disease causes the gums to recede away from the enamel of your tooth. This exposes the roots of your teeth, leading to cavities below the enamel.

Cavities in the root surface are especially dangerous because it is primarily made out of dentin. This substance is nowhere near as tough as tooth enamel. It is much more porous and is easily broken down by acids from foods or bacteria. Cavities in the roots, called root caries, can be filled if they are not too deep. On many occasions, however, the tooth requires a root canal due to infection or extraction due to damage.

The best approach to avoiding cavities in the roots is to avoid gum recession. While periodontal disease causes gum recession, there are other culprits too.

Causes of Gum Recession

If you have a lip piercing, check the gums nearby for recession.

If you have a lip piercing, check the gums nearby for recession.

  • Oral piercings (either lip or tongue)
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Using anything other than a soft toothbrush
  • Advancing age

That last cause of gum recession is simply a fact of life. The saying that someone is “long in tooth” if they are older reflects the fact that more of your tooth is exposed as you age. Gums simply do recede with time, but our habits can cause them to recede even faster. For example, when teenagers have exposed roots, bad dental habits and lip piercings are almost always to blame.

If you already have significant gum recession, fluoride helps exposed roots stay healthy and may be used in toothpaste or mouthwashes. Ask the dentists at the Placerville Dental Group for more suggestions on specific brands you might try. Best of all, stay away from sticky, sugary foods and highly acidic drinks and substances. With regular dental visits to our Placerville dental office, you can manage the hazards of gum recession!


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