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Receding Gums: Causes, Dangers and Treatments

Gum recession or receding gums refers to the loss of gingival (gum) tissue causing the exposure of the roots of the teeth.

Receding gums is a common dental problem in adults over the age of 40, but it can occur in younger ages. It can be generalized or localized and it is progressive in most cases. Usually, the first sign is hypersensitivity to cold and hot drinks. Also, the affected teeth appear longer and the roots are visible, a notch could be felt near the gum line, and spaces between teeth seem larger.

SEE ALSO: Bleeding Gums: A Clear Sign of Trouble


Gum recession has many causes and risk factors:

  • periodontal or gum disease
  • poor oral hygiene
  • aggressive brushing
  • hormonal factors
  • gingival trauma
  • poorly-fitted restorations
  • teeth grinding or clenching
  • malposition of the teeth
  • smoking and chewing tobacco
  • genetic predisposition

Image: American Dental Association


When gums pull away from your teeth, the roots of your teeth are left exposed and this puts you at risk for tooth and root decay. Left untreated, receding gums can also lead to functional and aesthetic complications.


The treatment of the gum recession depends on the cause, your dentist can help you to identify the problem and determine the best treatment plan.

If the recession is caused by periodontal disease, scaling and roots planning, stabilization treatments and perfect oral hygiene are extremely important to avoid further gingival and bone loss.

Also, you can prevent gingival recession by eating healthy food, maintaining balanced diet, smoking cessation and regular use of night guard if you grind your teeth.

In some advanced cases, gum tissue regeneration and gingival grafting could be performed by a periodontist or oral maxillofacial-surgeons.

Visit your dentist and hygienist regularly and inform them in case of family history of gum or periodontal disease.

If you are experiencing hypersensitivity, your dentist may apply desensitizing agents, varnishes and dentine bonding agents, he may also recommend specific toothpaste and mouthwash to reduce and treat the sensitivity.

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