Gingiva or gums are supporting structures of our teeth. They cover the tooth roots and alveolar bone overlying the teeth. You have receded gums if you can see the exposed tooth root surfaces. There might be other accompanying symptoms like: redness in gums, pain in gums, itching sensation, bleeding from gums that aggravates on brushing and biting something hard, sensitivity to hot and cold, mobility in teeth. This is something that should not be ignored as it might lead to tooth loss at a premature age. The grade or severity of gum recession varies from person to person and so thus the treatment.
Receding gums may occur due to a variety of factors. Below, we are discussing the most common causes of gingival recession:
- Mechanical causes like: aggressive tooth brushing, improper technique of tooth brushing, picking gums with certain objects like pins, nails, tooth picks.
- Swelling in gingival: gingivitis, occurring due to improper oral hygiene and local irritants like: plaque and calculus. Improperly done restorations might also be responsible for this. At times orthodontic treatment does not allow you to maintain proper oral hygiene due to mechanical hindrance from brackets and wires.
- Chewing tobacco etc.
- Hormonal disturbances and familial heredity also act as aggravating factors.
Prevention and Control of Gum Recession
- Use soft and small headed tooth brushes and do not use excessive pressure. Use of plain water to rinse the mouth after every meal and use of dental floss once a day. Flossing removes the plaque built up and food debris in the interproximal surfaces of the teeth. The areas between the teeth house the maximum number of bacteria and if left uncleaned, they are a major cause of gum disease. Few of the most commonly recommended germicidal mouthwash contain: Chlorhexidine, triclosan, hydrogen peroxide etc.
- Align your tooth brush properly so that it lies half of tooth and half on gums while scrubbing teeth and brush in a direction away from gums. Use circular strokes while brushing your teeth.
- Ask your dentist to use supragingival restorations whenever possible. This can prevent iatrogenic gum recession.
- Avoid deleterious habits like nail biting, pencil biting etc.
- Rinse your mouth with warm water containing salt or alum two or three times a day.
- Increase the intake of Vitamin C in diet as Ascorbic acid helps in repair and regeneration of collagen and hence gingival tissue. You may consume: Lemons, berries: goose berries etc. You may also take Vitamin C tablets that are available, over the counter.
- Ask your dentist about Gum paint that usually contain astringents. Massage your gums with the gum paint for 5 minutes.
- Usually, removal of local irritant factors like calculus on tooth surface and beneath the gum line through professional dental cleaning procedures, also called scaling and root planing procedures helps. As, these irritating factors provide a habitat to the bacterial to grow and releases toxic substances that cause gingival swelling, fibre destruction and in turn loss of attachment leading to gum recession.
- You might want to get your filling redone, in case it is faulty or dislodged and acting as a mechanical irritant.
- Severe cases may need dental surgical procedures like: Flap surgery, soft tissue graft placement, bone regeneration etc with long term follow up.
- As a home remedy, a mix of turmeric and mustard oil used to massage gums has been found helpful.
- Swishing your mouth with sesame oil or coconut oil and then sucking the oil through the spaces between your teeth and spitting it out is another old and reliable Ayurvedic home remedy. It is called oil pulling method.
- Eucalyptus oil diluted with water can be massaged on gums and has been found to be helpful due to it’s anti bacterial action.
- Quit habits like chewing Tobacco, supari etc as they aggravate gum recession.
- Your doctor might prescribe you a course of antibiotics active against anaerobic bacteria or combination of antibiotics like: metronidazole and ofloxacin combinations to fight gum recession. Anti inflammatory drugs are often prescribed too.