RECESSION OF GUMS

CAUSES, DANGERS AND TREATMENTS

The loss of Gingiva (gum tissue) resulting in the exposure of the roots of the teeth is called Gum recession or receding gums

Periodontal disease also commonly known as Gum Recession refers to an infection of the tissues supporting and surrounding the teeth mainly caused by the accumulation of bacteria from the dental plaque that inflames and damages the gums.

Receding gums affects people over the age of 40, can be present in younger ages as well. It may be generalized or localized depending upon the oral hygiene maintenance and it is generally progressive in most cases.

The first usual sign of gum recession is sensitivity to cold and hot drinks. The affected teeth appear longer and the roots start to get visible, a notch like depression can be felt near the gum line and spaces between teeth seem wider.

Commonly experienced symptoms are:

  • Red, Swollen And Tender Gums
  • Pus And Pockets Between Gums And Teeth
  • Receding Gums
  • Bleeding Gums During Or After Brushing Flossing Or Eating Hard Food,
  • Shifting Or Separating Teeth Creating Gaps
  • Persistent Bad Metallic Taste In Mouth And Bad Breath
  • Mouth Sores
  • Changes In The Fit Of Dentures And The Teeth Fit During Bites.

The Causes May Be:

  • Poor Oral Hygiene
  • Periodontal Or Gum Disease
  • Aggressive Brushing Technique
  • Trauma To The Gums
  • Systemic Illnesses Like Diabetes Or Cancer
  • Faulty Restorations
  • Malposition Of The Teeth
  • Hormonal Imbalances During Pregnancy And Menstruation
  • Regular Or Repetitive Teeth Grinding Or Clenching
  • Smoking And Chewing Tobacco
  • Hereditary Disorders
  • Medications Such As Contraceptives And Anticonvulsants

Why Is It A Serious Condition?

When the gums pull away from teeth, the roots of your teeth which were earlier covered are left bared and exposed and this puts your dental health at risk for decay and damage. If they are left untreated, receding gums will lead to functional and aesthetic problems.

What Are The Treatment Options?

  • Scaling and roots planning, stabilization of the teeth is first line of treatment if the recession is caused by periodontal disease. Oral hygiene maintenance is extremely important to avoid further gum recession and bone loss.
  • In case of overaggressive brushing, visit your dentist and he can help you by demonstrating the proper brushing technique and recommending the best oral hygiene tools according to your requirement.
  • By eating healthy, fibrous food, maintaining a balanced diet, smoking cessation and regular use of dental appliances for your grinding habit can also prevent the gingival recession.
  • In advanced gum recession cases, gum tissue regeneration and gingival grafting can be done by a Periodontist or an Oral surgeon.
  • If you experience hypersensitivity to cold and hot drinks or food, consult your dentist. If the damage to teeth is less, then it can be corrected by desensitizing agents, varnishes and dentine bonding agents. He may recommend specific toothpaste and mouthwash to reduce the sensitivity.

Bleeding Gums: Myths and Facts

1.Is it normal for gums to bleed?

Without proper dental hygiene, the bacteria present in the mouth forms plaque on the teeth surface. These bacteria cause gums to become inflamed, resulting in red, swollen, or bleeding gums. In some cases the inflammation is not so painful. If left untreated, gingivitis can worsen and lead to loss of teeth.

2.     What to do when Gums bleeding during brushing or flossing?

Bleeding gums, also known as gingivitis, is very common condition. People actually stop brushing and flossing after finding out blood, as a matter of fact, they should never cease to brush. Visit your dentist and follow the general oral hygiene practice.

3.     How should I clean my teeth effectively?

Always make sure that you use gentle, circular motions to clean your teeth and gums.

Make sure that you clean not only the teeth, but also the gums. A lot of bacteria are found at the junction of gum meeting the teeth and it needs to be cleaned.

Flossing is also very important, in those areas where your toothbrush alone just can’t get rid of to remove the bacteria, mainly in between the teeth. Many times patient’s gums start bleeding when they floss after not having flossed in a very long time. It’s because the gums are inflamed from bacteria not being removed for a longer period of time. Generally brushing twice a day and flossing once a day will make bleeding gums will go away within a week or so.

Without regular teeth cleanings with your dentist, dental tartar/calculus will harbor even more plaque bacteria, which can push the gum line below and lead to gum disease.

4.     What other health conditions could be related to gum diseases?

The bacteria present on the teeth and gums continuously release toxic substances that harm your healthy gums and can cause redness and swollen gums. If left untreated, the infection and the inflammation can damage your gums and even spread further down to your bone. Gradually it will lead to periodontitis and teeth loss.

In other cases, bleeding gums can be caused by numerous conditions such as severe vitamin deficiency, hormonal changes like pregnancy or menstruation, chemotherapy, some diseases like diabetes, certain medication like blood thinners, antiepileptic drugs.

Smoking also causes damage to your gums and makes the gum disease progress much faster.

5.     Are there any OTC medications that can be taken for bleeding gums?

The best treatment is to remove the sticky transparent film like plaque by brushing twice a day and flossing once a day that causes bleeding gum. When dental plaque builds up, it hardens and turns into tartar, a hard substance that gets attached to your teeth. Without regular teeth cleanings with your dentist, dental tartar or calculus will harbor even more plaque bacteria, which can push the gum line below and lead to gum disease.

6.     What other things I can do to prevent bleeding gums?

Visit your dentist. Your dentist will remove the soft and hard deposits by scaling and root planning treatment, which slows the process of gum disease down. Maintaining the oral hygiene is also important after getting cleaning done by the dentist.

In case of an advanced form of periodontal disease, periodontal therapy as seeing a periodontist, a gum disease specialist is recommended. In those cases, sometimes dental surgery may be needed to control the progression of the gum disease.

7.     Is there any advice for patients with gum disease?

Always brush and floss regularly. Get your teeth cleaned professionally with dentist every 3 to 6 months, depending on the condition of the gums, to prevent any disease in the future.

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Bleeding Gums: Sign of Trouble

People are actually mislead when they see bleeding gums and they do often stop brushing as according to them brushing is actually causing their gums to bleed. Therefore we bring few questions people ask and their answers to help them to get a better understanding about bleeding gums.

Why gums bleed? Is it normal or abnormal?

Those people who don’t practice proper dental hygiene regularly, the bacteria in the mouth form plaque on the teeth surface frequently. These harmful bacteria may lead to red and swollen gums those bleed on slight touch. Some people do not experience any pain but if you catch this symptom at an early stage, the professional cleaning could be done and the healing would be achieved and that would give excellent results. But if you ignore this situation, it may get worse eventually lead to loss of teeth.

My gums bleed while brushing. Should I be scared?

The bleeding gums are the result of not maintaining oral hygiene properly. It is not a condition to be scared of as it is just an initial stage of gum disease therefore it should not be ignored. It is a wrong practice to stop brushing when you see the gums bleed as not brushing would accelerate and worsen the condition. Visit your dentist and get a professional cleaning done and then maintain oral hygiene to avoid it.

Is there a proper way to clean my teeth effectively?

Always use a soft bristled tooth brush for a start. Make sure that you use your toothbrush gently in circular motions to clean your teeth and gums too. Brushing is always for the teeth as well as gums. The gum line is the curve around the tooth where most bacteria reside so it’s important to not to ignore that.  The back and forth motion technique of brushing does more harm than good as it can irritate the gums and can damage them, making them more susceptible to recede.

Flossing is very important to remove the bacteria in the space between your teeth where toothbrush is unable to reach. Most people complain of bleeding gums while flossing as they haven’t flossed for a long time. Always be cautious to not e harsh on your gums while flossing. Be gentle with the floss and always slide up and down following the shape of each tooth. Bleeding usually goes away within a week so when good oral hygiene is maintained, always maintain good hygiene practice by brushing twice daily along with flossing.

With poor oral hygiene, the plaque solidifies to become tartar which is even more difficult to clean by you. The tartar becomes the breeding zone for more plaque and bacteria which penetrate the gums making them more inflamed.

When children have bleeding gums, what should be done?

When children or adults have bleeding gums, it’s mainly due to improper brushing technique or not brushing for a long time and not cleaning the gums well enough. Parents should make their kids learn how to do proper brushing as a child is naïve and may not be able to clean every corner of the mouth and may not know proper technique too.

Any health conditions may case bleeding of gums?

When the bleeding gums condition progresses, it leads to severe damage of teeth surrounding area and to the bone. The toxic bacteria on teeth and gums releases harmful substances that in turn that harms your gums and in turn make them infected.  If this condition is ignored, it leads to periodontitis an eventually leading to loss of teeth.

Sometimes, bleeding gums may be caused by reason other than not maintaining proper oral hygiene. Such situations are severe vitamin deficiency, pregnancy or menstruation, chemotherapy, diabetes, drugs such as blood thinners. Evidently smoking also damages gums and help in progress of disease.

Do medications help for bleeding gums?

Most helpful way to remove the plaque which is responsible for the bleeding gums is brushing and flossing effectively twice daily. The plaque, if left unclean, may harden and transform into tartar which is hard and strictly adheres itself to tooth surface near gums. Tartar is an ideal place to harbor bacteria and infect your gums with it. Regular cleaning of teeth and professional cleaning twice a year will help you to avoid this condition for a really long time.

Aside from brushing and flossing, what other things can prevent bleeding gums?

Visit your dentist. The dentist will remove all the hard deposits present on the tooth as well as root surface. The cleaning will remove the toxic bacteria that are causing the gums to bleed and will help the gums to heal. It is necessary to maintain the oral hygiene at all times.

If the gum disease is at an advanced stage known as , you may consult a periodontist , a gum disease specialist to get a better idea about your gum health.

What is last advice for patients with gum disease?

Always brush with the right technique and floss twice a day. Visit your dentist twice a year to ensure your oral hygiene to prevent gum diseases in future.