If you’ve noticed your teeth are getting longer and your gums are getting shorter, perhaps it’s time to see a dentist.

Gum recession can affect anyone, even those who brush twice a day and floss daily. Although it can’t be reversed, there are some things you can do to stop them from receding.

Gum recession can be a form of gum disease in which the gum tissue pulls away from the teeth, revealing the tooth’s root. Also called “periodontal disease,” bacterial gum infections can destroy gum tissue and supporting bone that hold your teeth in place. Gum disease is the main cause of gum recession and can result from poor oral health, pre-existing medical conditions, dry mouth, aggressive brushing, smoking or the effects of age and even genetics.

Gum disease makes you more prone to cavities and a higher risk of tooth loss. In addition to the visible signs of receding gums, other symptoms of gum disease are as follows:

• bleeding after brushing or flossing
• red and swollen gums
• bad breath
• pain at the gum line
• loose teeth

You can slow or even stop your gums from receding by first visiting your dentist for an exam and cleaning. Your dentist can identify problem areas and recommend certain treatments to stop gum disease from progressing.

Ask your dentist which treatments are best for you. There are surgical and non-surgical treatments that may help. Healthy habits are essential to stopping gums from receding, like maintaining a balanced diet, eliminating tobacco use and improving your oral health routine at home.

Remember, losing your teeth is not a foregone conclusion as you age — if your gums are healthy, it is still important to maintain good oral health through brushing twice a day, flossing daily and seeing your dentist at least twice a year so you can live well and smile more!

HAWAII DENTAL SERVICE (501(c) 4 nonprofit)
Kahala Howser, Wellness & Events Manager
808-521-1431 | khowser@hawaiidentalservice.com