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Causes of Receding Gums

There are various reasons that lead to the unsightly problem of exposed root surfaces of the teeth. Read on to know about some of the causes and how they affect oral health.
Dr. Sumaiya Khan
Receding gums is a condition wherein the attachment of the gum line to the surface of the tooth is lowered, due to which a small part of the yellow portion of the root is exposed. This is a condition that leads to many problems like sensitivity, loss of aesthetics due to an unsightly smile, etc. This is one of the leading symptoms of periodontal diseases and gum diseases and is mostly seen in elderly patients. There are many factors that can lead to this problem.
The Causative Factors
Poor Oral Hygiene
Poor oral hygiene affects the health of the mouth to a large extent. The presence of plaque and dental caries leads to contamination of the attachment of the gum line to the tooth. Due to the constant accumulation of plaque in the interdental crevices, bacteria start lodging in this region. This affects the attachment cells, which lose contact with the tooth surface and migrate lower to get attached to the surface of the root. Misaligned teeth is one of the factors affecting gums. Due to malposition of the teeth, the gum line tends to move lower. Inner lip and gum piercings can also be one of the causes of receding gums.
Certain Habits
Many people tend to brush their teeth very aggressively. This kind of vigorous brushing weakens the gingival lining and tissue. Even in bulimia, where a person constantly vomits and purges out food that is eaten, it can make the gums retract. This is because the constant throwing up of acid from the stomach can lead to destruction of the gingival lining. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, wrecks havoc on teeth and lays stress on the periodontal fibers. Due to this, it could lead to loss of attachment of the gum tissue. Chewing tobacco stresses the gum lining, which could lead to loss of attachment. Extensive orthodontic treatment, where there is movement of teeth brought about over large distances, can also lead to this condition.
Progressive Periodontal Diseases
Progressive periodontal diseases are also one of the major factors for this condition. In periodontal diseases, there is often inflammation of the gums, leading them to swell around the teeth and other such symptoms. Due to the inflammation, the gum tissues become weak and contaminated. The microorganisms grow and adhere to the tooth surface. As the immune system tries to fight them off, the gum tissue cells get damaged as well, leading to widespread loss of attachment. This is one of the rapidly progressing factors, especially when seen in cases of aggressive periodontitis or acute necrotizing ulcerative periodontitis. The loss of attachment and recession of the gum line is also seen in chronic periodontitis and abscesses of the periodontium.
The treatment will depend on the underlying cause. As the causes are so many and varied in nature, it is necessary to address the problem according to the exact cause. In the end, like they say, prevention is always better than cure. So, with a little bit of dental care, you can always keep the problem of receding gums at bay!
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.