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When Your Gums Recede

Periodontal disease is by far the most serious cause of gum recession. However, bacteria and plaque aren’t always to blame. Your gums may pull back from the neck of the tooth for mechanical reasons. Using a hard toothbrush or brushing too forcefully can actually wear away the gum tissue at the point where it meets the tooth. In addition, it’s common for gums to recede with age.

If gum recession leaves the roots of your teeth exposed, your teeth may become more sensitive to hot, cold, sweet, or sour foods and drinks. Your dentist may recommend using a soft toothbrush, special toothpaste, or a fluoride rinse.

Gum recession also may leave the dentin in the root exposed and vulnerable to decay. Root decay or root cavities may follow. This problem is particularly serious among older adults.

In some cases, your periodontist may recommend treating gum recession with graft surgery. This involves moving gum tissue from another part of your mouth to the affected area, covering the exposed part of the tooth.


Source: Dental Health for Adults: A Guide to Protecting Your Teeth and Gums. Copyright © by Harvard University. All rights reserved.

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