Gum Recession - What Causes Receding Gums and its Treatment


Healthy gums usually look pink, with a tight line between this tissue and your teeth. But if bacteria starts to build up, this can cause gum recession.

At first, receding gums may not be noticeable as they can pull away from the teeth quite gradually. However, if you feel increased tooth sensitivity, this might be a sign to take a trip to your dentist for a check-up.

As gum recession progresses, your teeth may appear longer and the roots of your teeth can become exposed. Your dentist may also notice signs of gums receding. If this happens it is important to act on the symptoms to avoid any damage to your teeth and gums.

What Causes Receding Gums?

If you notice the signs of issues with your gums, it can be a bit alarming at first. Because of this, dentists are often asked what causes receding gums and how to prevent them from developing.

The causes of receding gums vary but knowing some of the most common reasons they may develop can help you to avoid this and maintain healthy and tight gums. In the long run, looking after your gums can also help to prevent periodontal disease and tooth loss.

A common receding gums cause to look out for is brushing your teeth too hard. This also isn’t ideal as it wears down the teeth enamel.

Other factors that can lead to receding gums include periodontal disease, genetic predisposition, hormonal changes, smoking, grinding your teeth, or a misaligned bite.

Along with these causes, plaque buildup that hardens into tartar can also lead to receding gums.

If you’re taking any prescribed medication, you should also let your dentist know, just in case you’re experiencing any side effects on your gums or in your mouth.

Symptoms of Receding Gums

Receding gums symptoms can appear gradually but spotting some of these common signs early on can help you to manage this condition.

As mild gum recession from periodontal disease affects your oral health, you may start to notice teeth appearing longer and this is often a tell-tale sign. Other early symptoms include bleeding after brushing, red and swollen gums and bad breath.

When a receding gum line becomes more serious, exposed roots of teeth are common. Exposed roots are often accompanied by a feeling of extreme sensitivity and can often be caused by brushing aggressively with a hard-bristled toothbrush head.

If bacteria becomes lodged in gaps surrounding receding gums, you may start to notice loose teeth. These pockets which form due to gingival recession are a common element of periodontal disease and worsen over time if not treated by a dental professional.

Receding Gums Treatment

The right treatment for receding gums will vary based on when you spot the signs. If in your case you only have mild signs of gum recession it may simply be a case of changing your toothbrush head to softer bristles or flossing. Oral-B electric toothbrushes are easily customizable with a variety of heads available if your dentist recommends this.

Alternatively, if you have developed more serious symptoms, gum recession treatment may involve surgery.

One of the most common medical treatments is a gum graft which is carried out by a periodontist. This receding gum treatment aims to revive gum tissue or the underlying bone by placing a synthetic insertion or bone portion to encourage gum growth.

Another surgical treatment for receding gums is flap surgery. This deep tissue clean works by cleaning out bacteria and tartar that may have become lodged close to the gums when gaps form. This treatment is also carried out by a periodontist.

The best way to maintain healthy gums in the long-term is an oral care routine of brushing twice daily, rinsing with mouthwash, and flossing.

Receding Gums Prevention

When it comes to learning how to prevent receding gums, there are some easily preventable causes. The simplest is brushing with a softer bristled toothbrush and to avoid applying too much pressure. The Oral-B Pro 3 Electric Toothbrush features a sensor that will light up when you press too hard, making this an easy first step.

Regular checkups with your dentist can also help to spot early signs and prevent receding gums with gentle cleaning of any buildup of plaque and tartar. This kind of cleaning is recommended on a bi-annual basis to complement your oral care routine.

Some other tips to prevent receding gums that your dentist may offer include quitting smoking and eating a balanced diet without excessive amounts of sugar. Alongside this, you should try regularly flossing with a dentally recommended product such as Oral-B floss.

Following all of these steps are a great way to prevent receding gums and reduce your risk of needing flap surgery or a gum graft in future.


  • Can receding gums grow back?

Unfortunately, your gum tissue does not grow back unlike other types of tissue such as your skin. This makes it especially important to look out for the early signs of receding gums.

  • How to stop receding gums from getting worse?

If you’re wondering how to stop receding gums in their tracks, the best steps are regular dental check-ups and a consistent routine of brushing properly twice daily, flossing and using dental professional recommended products such as antibacterial mouthwashes and antibacterial toothpaste like stannous fluoride.

  • How to treat receding gums?

If you have noticed the first signs of gum recession, your dental professional will first diagnose the cause(s). Treatment option depends on the diagnosis and severity of recession. An integral component is patient’s home care and proper oral hygiene instructions.

  • How to treat receding gums without surgery?

For gum recession associated with poor oral hygiene, your dental professional will start with deep cleaning (scaling and root planning).