Wellness Tips | 16 November, 2022


What are receding Gums?

Receding gums (also called gum recession) occurs when the tissue of your gums moves up the surface of the teeth and exposes the roots, making them more susceptible to cavities and sensitivity. Receding gums is a fairly common condition and becomes more common with age. Luckily, there are a number of ways to treat and prevent gum recession to help you keep your smile healthy.

Causes of Receding gums

Despite the common misconception, receding gums are not always a result of poor oral hygiene. Whilst this can be a contributing factor in many cases, there are a few other causes of receding gums, including;

  • Periodontal disease
  • Injury to gum tissue
  • Brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with bristles that are too harsh
  • Abnormal tooth alignment
  • Smoking
  • Certain lip and tongue piercings
  • Plaque build-up from poor oral hygiene
  • Genetic predisposition

Regardless of the cause behind receding gums, the earlier it is identified and treated, the less unpleasant symptoms and further dental issues you will experience.


Symptoms of receding gums

The most obvious sign of receding gums is the exposure of the roots of your tooth, but there are some other symptoms you might experience, including:

  • Pain near your gum line
  • Red, swollen gums
  • Increased sensitivity to temperature (eating very cold or hot foods)
  • Increased sensitivity or discomfort when eating certain foods (spicy, sweet, or sour foods)
  • Increased sensitivity or pain during dental check-ups and cleans
  • Pain or bleeding when brushing and flossing


When to see a dentist about receding gums

If you experience any of the above symptoms, it's important to visit your dentist to see if you have receding gums, as leaving this untreated can lead to a variety of other serious dental issues, including;

  • Decay
  • Bone loss
  • Loose teeth
  • Tooth loss

Your dentist can diagnose receding gums or periodontal disease by measuring the amount of recession on each tooth, as well as look for bone loss in periodontal pockets around each tooth.


Treatments for receding gums

Receding gums are not necessarily 'curable', however there are a variety of treatments designed to give you greater comfort and quality of life living with receding gums. Some common treatments include:

Antimicrobials applied topically directly under the gums - this is often done alongside a deep clean under local anaesthesia to kill bacteria and treat diseased tissue


Dental Bonding - your dentist may be able to camouflage the recessed area with composite resin filling material to cover the exposed tooth root, protecting it.

Orthodontics - In some cases, misaligned teeth can be the cause of gum recession. Orthodontic treatments such as braces or clear aligners can help correct the problem. Over time the space in the gums may fix itself.


Gum Graft Surgery - performed by a periodontist, grafts taken from skin inside the mouth is attached to replace the missing tissue. This surgery is minimally invasive and can heal in around 2 weeks.

How to prevent receding gums

Your gums do not grow back once they have receded - This means that when it comes to gum health, preventative measures are the best treatment. Some of the best ways to reduce your risk of receding gums include:

  • Maintain proper dental hygiene by regularly flossing and brushing teeth
  • Avoid sugary foods that promote cavities
  • Get regular dental check-ups, especially if you begin to notice symptoms of receding gums
  • Treat existing conditions that may lead to receding gums, such as misaligned teeth


Concerned about your smile or teeth? Book an appointment here to find a dentist near you.