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What Causes Receding Gums?

What Causes Receding Gums?


Periodontal (gum) disease is a serious bacterial infection that damages the supporting bone and attachment fibers holding your teeth in place. As a result, gums become separated from the teeth and form dangerous pockets filled with infection. In time, the pockets grow, more damage is done, and the teeth become loose. Today, about 15% of those between the ages of 21 and 50, and 30% of those over the age of 50 have some form of gum disease.

The accumulation of plaque is a major cause of periodontal (gum) disease. It can also be related to the following:

  • Heredity
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Poor nutrition
  • A systemic or autoimmune disease
  • Diabetes
  • Certain hormonal changes
  • Excessive grinding and clenching of the teeth
  • Teeth that are separating or loose
  • Ill-fitting dentures
  • The formation of puss between the gums and the teeth
  • A change in bite and alignment of the jaw

Receding Gums Play a Role in Gum Disease

Receding gums are often caused by gum disease, and75% of adults have it in some form. Very often, it causes no pain and people are unaware that the problem exists. When the plaque that builds up is not removed, it will produce toxins that cause inflammation and irritation. This can destroy gum tissue, and cause it to separate, forming the pockets mentioned above, which contain additional bacteria and make the problem worse.

Receding Gums Can Be Prevented

To choose a soft toothbrush, exert mild-to-moderate pressure, and short back-and-forth strokes or small, circular motions. Avoid long, horizontal strokes, toothbrushes with hard bristles, and the exertion of heavy pressure as you brush your teeth.

Potential Risks

The Journal of Periodontology reports that those who have periodontal disease are more likely to develop some systemic disease, including cardiovascular disease. Research has indicated that severely diseased gums release much higher levels of bacterial components into the bloodstream, when compared with those of healthy patients. The danger lies in the fact that these bacteria could cause harm when they travel to the heart or other organs in the body.


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