Sat, 02 Dec 2023

Gum disease has a substantial global burden and affects around 1 billion people. Unfortunately, most cases are left untreated and develop severe complications. One of the early complications of periodontitis (severe gum disease) is receding gumlines. This develops when the gums start pulling back from the teeth's surface. Consequently, the roots of the teeth become exposed, and patients develop tooth sensitivity. It is pertinent to discuss how receding gums develop, their prevention, and management. Here is everything you need to know.

How do receding gums develop?

The initial insult to gum tissues occurs after a build-up of bacteria and tartar in the gums leads to direct damage to the tissue. This leads to gingivitis, the inflammation of gum tissue. Further damage to the gums causes the tissue to pull back from the teeth and expose the bases. As a result, the teeth lose stability and are left vulnerable to decay and other severe complications.

What causes gum recession?

Several factors come into play in the development and progression of gum recession. Here are a few of the common causes.

Harmful foods

Not everything you eat is healthy for you. Many types of foods are known to cause poor oral health and lead to the development of gum disease. Top of the list is sugary foods and carbonated drinks. These cause high bacterial growth around teeth and lead to gum inflammation. Over time, the tissue starts to recede. Furthermore, carbonated drinks are known to damage the enamel and result in tooth decay.

Acidic fruits and drinks are also known to cause gum damage and recession. They also directly damage teeth.

Poor oral care

One of the biggest causes of receding gums is poor oral care. The right oral hygiene practices prevent the formation of tartar and the onset of gum disease. On the other hand, poor oral hygiene creates a breeding ground for bacteria and eventually leads to receding gums. Moreover, the progression of gum disease to severe complications is accelerated by inadequate oral care.


Smoking is linked to several health problems, including poor oral health. In addition, the habit is known to cause tooth decay, gingivitis, and periodontitis. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that receding gums is a common presentation among smokers.

Systemic diseases

Unfortunately, systemic diseases can present with oral health problems. For example, diabetes, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, and Anorexia commonly present with gum disease and tooth decay. These diseases cause direct injury to tissues in the dental cavity and also reduce tissue healing. As a result, patients present with receding gums and other oral problems.


One adverse effect of antidepressants, antihistamines, and antacids is gum recession. Unfortunately, these drugs cause less salivation and leave tissues in the mouth vulnerable to injury and bacterial invasion. As a result, chronic use leads to receding gums and other periodontal diseases.

Treatment options

There are several treatment options for receding gums. Medical treatment involves preventing and reversing inflammatory changes in the gum tissue. Therefore, dentists may prescribe antibiotics to manage bacterial infections and anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation.

Treatment may take the form of topical antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications, or oral medicines.

Severe cases of receding gums are often treated using surgical approaches. These may include soft tissue grafts, flap surgery, and bone grafting. Surgical approaches are often invasive. Ultimately, your dentist will decide on the most appropriate approach.

Overall, the recommendation from dentists is that prevention is better than cure. Therefore, it's imperative to observe proper oral hygiene, avoid bad habits, and visit your dentist regularly for the best oral health.

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