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How to Prevent Receding Gums

It’s pretty hard keeping a bright, clean smile with all of the sugary temptations in life, but despite a multitude of dental products, procedures, and resources available, almost 95% of Americans suffer from some sort of tooth decay or gum problem. The worst of it is – dental disease, including receding gums is preventable, but when preventive measures are not followed or impending problems ignored – an assortment of undesirable outcomes await.

How to Prevent Receding Gums

What Are Receding Gums?

Receding gums (also known as gingival recession) involves the loss of gum tissue that eventually causes the roots of teeth to become exposed [1]. Gum recession is a common problem that often strikes adults over the age of 40, but may also begin when an individual is in their teens [2].

The Negative Effects of Receding Gums

One of the worst effects associated with receding gums is that once the process has begun, the gums do not grow back on their own. Some people deal with receded gums that have come to the point of extreme pain or have led to additional concerns. A dentist may then suggest surgical gum replacement in worst-case scenarios. Visually, the look of receding gums usually implies that one possesses unhealthy or “unclean” teeth and could pose embarrassment for those suffering from the condition.

Contributing Factors

While the build up of plaque is one of the most common contributing factors to the condition, there are many other factors that can cause receding gums [3]. Some are well-known and obvious, while others may surprise you, including:

a) Food:

When food becomes packed between the teeth or even lodged under the gums, recession eventually occurs.

b) Brushing and Flossing:

When an individual possesses inadequate brushing and flossing habits, receding gums are often triggered.

c) Stress:

A lesser-known factor that promotes the recession of gums is the anxiety and tension that comes from mounting pressure and the inability to deal with daily stresses.

d) Lack of Sleep:

The gums suffer a lowered resistance when an individual does not get the appropriate amount of sleep needed for their body to recuperate.

e) Poor Diet:

Following a poor diet (especially lacking in fruits, vegetables, and vitamin C-containing food items) will result in receding gums.

f) Overall Health and Immunity:

When one is ill or suffers from a weakened immune system, the chances of developing receding gums become higher.

How to Prevent Receding Gums

Regular dental checkups are a must because not only can a dentist help detect tooth decay, but also identify the signs of impending gum problems. It is recommended that a visit to the dentist should take place at least once a year or as often as your dentist suggests [4]. Since dentist visits are scarce throughout the year, it is up to the individual to uphold their end of the dental deal and demonstrate healthy habits that will prevent receding gums. A few suggestions to consider adding to a daily routine may include:

a) Hot Salt Water:

A vigorous rinse of the mouth with hot salt water may help prevent gums from receding. A suggested approach is to mix one teaspoon of salt to one cup of water and rinse for two minutes for three times per day.

b) Nutritional Supplements:

Gum recession prevention may come through the repair and strengthening of gum tissue. Supplements, such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B complex, and vitamin C are just some of the vitamins and minerals that promote healthy gums [5].

c) Teeth Brushing Habits:

An individual who brushes their teeth in an overly aggressive manner is only asking for trouble with their gums. Often, gum lines recede due to harsh toothbrush abrasion caused by the wearing away of the enamel located at the gum line. If you have a habit of scrubbing the sides of your teeth in a “washboard” motion, it is suggested to alter your brushing patterns to something a bit gentler.

d) Dental Floss:

It is recommended to use dental floss at least twice a day to prevent the buildup of food that often accumulates between the teeth. Some people feel this is the best way to prevent receding gums. Today, the market offers plenty of selections to consider, including flavored (mint, bubble gum, cinnamon); unflavored, waxed, unwaxed, as well as various thickness and materials. For those who avoid flossing because it causes their gums to bleed and become tender, a few days of flossing on a daily basis should cure this concern.

e) Toothbrush Selection:

A toothbrush with a hard bristle is a common receding gum culprit. To prevent the condition from occurring, using a soft-bristle toothbrush is suggested.

f) Disclosing Tablets:

You don’t need the dentist to check for the accumulation of plaque – there are easy, inexpensive ways to make sure you are following the best teeth cleaning procedures. For example, disclosing tablets contain a safe, red vegetable dye that stains food particles and dental plaque on the teeth.

The tablets are made to melt in the mouth, which is then held in the saliva before completely spitting out in the sink. After displaying a smile in the mirror, all of the areas about the teeth showcasing plaque will appear. This allows an individual to brush away the stains until they vanish. Overall, using disclosing tablets helps teach more effective ways of brushing teeth.


[1] http://www.cda.org/popup/Receding_Gums
[3] http://www.drkoop.com/encyclopedia/93/494/Receding_Gums.html

3 Responses to “How to Prevent Receding Gums”

  1. Enuma
    June 30, 2008 at 11:14 pm #

    This info is very important. Take note of all their tips!

    January 24, 2011 at 11:31 am #


  3. pete
    July 30, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    snack on apples, carrots, celery, milk, and yogurt.

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