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Causes of Receding Gums

Causes of Receding Gums

Friday, October 6th, 2017

What are Receding Gums?

Certain types of periodontal disease or other conditions may cause your gums to ‘recede’ from your teeth, leaving more of the tooth visible and exposed. You may notice that your teeth appear slightly longer than they used to. In fact, that phrase ‘getting long in the tooth’ is directly related to the condition of receding gums, since while it appears that the teeth are getting longer, it’s actually that the gums are getting shorter.

What Causes Receding Gums?

In general, patients who suffer from other types of dental or periodontal disease are more likely to develop a receding gum line. Common causes include things like too much plaque and tartar buildup, and gingivitis.

Additionally, there are other habits and conditions that can increase the risk of receding gums, including the following:


If other members of your family have suffered from a receding gum line, your chances of developing receding gums is a little bit higher.

Improper Brushing

We often see patients who have developed receding gums in the absence of any other cause or condition. In these cases, it is almost always due to improper brushing. For starters, you should use a medium or soft toothbrush. Using a hard toothbrush can irritate and damage your gums.

As well, no matter what type of toothbrush you use, you should always be gentle when brushing your teeth. You don’t need to use a lot of force when brushing. Instead, take your time to do a thorough job, spending a few seconds on each tooth.

Grinding Your Teeth

We see many patients who have a grinding problem that they are not even aware of. But the signs of grinding are obvious to us as Dentists. Tooth surfaces become worn down in certain spots. The pressure that wears down the surface of teeth can also cause gums to recede.

Other Gum Diseases

As mentioned, other dental or periodontal diseases can cause gums to recede. Gingivitis is the number one cause of receding gums we see in our dental clinic. When plaque hardens into tartar, it forms a hard mass on the tooth surface and under the gum line. If left untreated, the gums will begin to recede in an effort to make room for the hard mass of tartar that has invaded the gum line.

Health Conditions that Aren’t Dental Related

Many health conditions and diseases such as diabetes, hormonal problems, and pregnancy, can lead to an increased risk of receding gums.

Lifestyle Choices

As we all know, smoking can lead to a vast array of health issues. Because cigarette smoke passes through the teeth, the gums are directly affected by all of the toxic chemicals contained in cigarettes. If you’ve ever known a long time smoker, you’ve probably noticed that they seem to have long stained teeth. Again, it’s not that their teeth are actually getting longer, but rather, their gums are receding, giving the teeth a longer appearance.

Symptoms of Receding Gums

The symptoms of receding gums are fairly obvious. The gum line will begin to shrink back, giving the teeth the appearance of being longer. With receding gums, the patient will often experience gum sensitivity, puffiness, soreness, and bleeding.

Treating Receding Gums

There are several treatment options for receding gums. It goes without saying that following a proper dental hygiene routine, and eating a well-balanced diet, will contribute to the health of your gums. As well, you may require one or more treatments in our dental clinic.

Clinic Treatments

Depending on the severity of your receding gums, one or more of the following treatments may be required to resolve the issue:

Deep Cleaning

You are probably familiar with a regular dental cleaning, which treats the surfaces of your teeth. If you are suffering from receding gums, we may have to perform something called Scaling and Root Planing, otherwise known as deep cleaning.

This type of cleaning focuses on removing tartar, bacteria, and other debris that has collected under the gum line. This will allow the gums to heal and return to normal.


In severe cases of receding gums and gingivitis, a course of antibiotics may be required before any other treatment can be performed.

Gum Surgery

Gum surgery may be required if the treatments above are unsuccessful. Depending on the extent of your receding gums, and other conditions with your teeth and mouth, one of four types of surgery may be required – pocket depth reduction, periodontal regeneration, soft tissue grafts, or pedicle grafts.

At Home Treatment

As mentioned, your best defense against receding gums, is practicing proper dental hygiene. This includes brushing and flossing.

Your lifestyle and diet also contribute to the health of your gums. Avoiding things like smoking; sugary drinks such as soda; candy, and other high sugar foods will help to reduce your risk of developing receding gums. As well, be sure to include lots of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, grains, and calcium in your diet. Your gums are just like the rest of your body – they need proper nutrition to be healthy.

Reducing Your Risk

As you can see, there are steps you can perform to help reduce your risk of developing receding gums.

Along with your regular dental hygiene routine at home, visiting us for regular dental cleanings and checkups will help us to keep an eye on the health of your gums and teeth, and be proactive in treating them to help reduce your risk.


Receding gums are a condition where your gums being to shrink and/or pull back from your teeth, giving your teeth the appearance of being longer than they used to be. The condition is caused by a number of things including heredity, and lifestyle.

Regular visits to Enhance Dental Centre will help prevent you from becoming someone who suffers from receding gums.

Contact Information
Enhance Dental Centre

2219 West Broadway,
Vancouver BC V6K 2E4

Tel: 604-733-1022
Emergencies: 778-522-2201

Office Hours
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Tuesdays:8 am- 6 pm
Wednesdays: 10 am - 7 pm
Thursdays: 10 am - 7 pm
Fridays: 8 am- 4 pm
Saturdays: 9 am- 4 pm (Every Other Saturday)

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