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Understanding the Causes of Gum Recession

Posted on 4/1/2024 by Weo Admin
a close up of healthy gums and pearly teethGum recession refers to gums pulling away from teeth, exposing vulnerable root surfaces. This common problem can lead to sensitivity, decay, and eventual tooth loss if it continues unchecked. There are multiple possible reasons for receding gums.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal or gum disease results from bacterial plaque buildup along and under the gumline. If not controlled by brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings, this causes inflammation and infection of gums and supporting tissues. The immune system responds by breaking down infected gum attachments. This permits gums to detach and recede downward.

Overly Aggressive Brushing

Vigorous horizontal scrubbing wears out the thin gum tissue covering the tooth roots and kills off supporting cells. This mechanical damage also contributes to gums pulling away from teeth over time. Brushing too frequently, often using medium or hard brushes, makes matters worse.

Clenching and Grinding

Excess forces placed on teeth from habitual clenching, grinding, and chewing eventually traumatize gums. When done too often or intensely, blood flow gets reduced. The gum tissue then shrinks and recedes, exposing sensitive root segments.


Genetic factors play a role in the susceptibility to gum recession and altered immune responses, which can be inherited within families. Some individuals have a natural predisposition for more aggressive or rapid gum recession despite practicing good oral hygiene. However, it is possible to manage family risks associated with these conditions.

Smoking and Tobacco Use

Smokers and smokeless tobacco users show more gum recession than non-users because tobacco irritates mouth tissues. Stopping use limits further damage. Additionally, diabetics and those with hormonal changes face higher recession risks, requiring meticulous self-care.

Schedule an Appointment Today

If you notice gums shrinking around one or more teeth, do not delay seeking treatment. Catching gum loss early maximizes options for halting and potentially reversing the recession. You can reduce risks going forward with improved home care, bite evaluation, gum grafting, pinhole surgery if needed, and consistent monitoring. Committing to gum health leads to better lifelong oral wellness.

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Greenway Family Dental
15409 W Greenway Rd, Suite 100
Surprise, AZ 85374
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