How Can You Stop Receding Gums

Every morning you brush your teeth in order to keep them healthy and cavity free. But did you know that you could actually be ruining your teeth and gums in the process? Two out of three people apply too much pressure when brushing their teeth. This overzealous brushing actually destroys gums by driving gum tissue away from teeth.

The gums (gingiva) are the soft tissues of the mouth that surround and support teeth. Healthy gums fit snugly against teeth. When gum lines pull away from the teeth, it is called receding gums or gum recession.

Gingival or gum recession is a condition where the protective tissue around your teeth is lost and pulls away towards the root.

Gums that recede to expose the root surfaces of teeth is a common condition in adults over the age of 40. Many consider it to be just a sign of aging, and in some cases it is essentially that – often the result of wear and tear or years of aggressive tooth brushing. However, sometimes receding gums can be a sign of something more.

Cause of Receding Gum

In many cases, receding gums are caused by periodontal disease (gum disease). Three out of four adults have some form of it, and in most cases, it doesn’t cause any pain and goes unnoticed. Also receding gums can be caused by improper tooth brushing (toothbrush abrasion).

When you brush too vigorously, even supposedly soft bristles can drive gums from your teeth and eventually expose roots.

In toothbrush abrasion, the enamel at the gum line is worn away by scrubbing the sides of the teeth in a washboard fashion. Over time, this horizontal brushing wears away the protective enamel, exposing the inner nerve-containing part of the tooth called dentin.

Picture of Receding GumsSometimes receding gums can be identified at first glance, but they may be detected by feeling the top of the teeth at the gum line. If the tooth feels notched at the gum line, then the gums are likely receding, thus hastening the decay of healthy teeth.

Receding gums may also be caused by teeth that are misaligned, or by excessive plaque build-up at the gum line. Misaligned teeth can be addressed by an orthodontist through the application of braces or other treatments.

Regular cleanings to remove plaque build up as well as treatments for possible periodontal disease should be undertaken where appropriate.

Also receding gums can be caused by a number of factors, including mouth injuries or trauma, smoking, oral piercing, misaligned, gapped or crooked teeth…

Numerous case reports and a few clinical studies have examined the association between tongue piercing and receding gums, and oral piercing, typically involving the tongue and/or the lip, has been associated with periodontal complications. However, there are no such studies on lip piercing.

A research group from the Ohio State University in Columbus recruited, from the community, 29 young adults with lip piercing (mean age, 21 years, 8 months; 15 females) and 29 without (mean age, 22 years, 3 months; 15 females) and examined them for gingival recession on the buccal aspect of the mandibular central incisors.

There were no demographic (age, gender distribution) differences between the two groups of subjects. Receding gums were were significantly greater among subjects with lip piercing (41.4%) than among controls (6.9%). The average recession depth was more than double in subjects with piercing compared with controls. Length of time of wear was the only significantly associated demographic variable.

These results indicate that lip piercing is strongly associated with increased prevalence and severity of receding gums, and increased time of wear is associated with increased prevalence of recession.

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  • Bob

    Yeah !!! Gum recession is preventable with good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups.

  • chels

    why are my gums receding I’m only 18!!!


    Chels, it may be because of your heredity, bad nutrition (low fruits/vegetables diet), great tartar buildup or extra strong pressure while brushing teeth. The better and more accurate answer will give your dentist after checkup.

  • tom

    chels im 19 (your prob not even reading this actually but to any other kids our age..) yeah ive got receing gums from brushing hard and pushing the back, i can start to feel the top of my front teeth (ok nearly) im difinitely going to see my dentist next week!

  • shawn

    I’m only 19 and the bottom of my teeth are visible. I think the roots are visible :( and they’re still receding. I’ve taken very poor care of my teeth. Now I want to do better. But my case is somewhat severe. So I may need a soft tissue graft. :'(

  • Mike

    Im 20 and im haveing the same problem as all you. I don’t know why its still happening as ive quit smokeing and switched to sensidineand a soft toothbrush. My gums hurt real bad right now. If anyone finds a good toothpaste or something that helps post again on here

  • Ed

    Im 30 and my gums are also severely retreating since i was about 20. Ive never smoked or done any drugs. I dont drink soda or eat candy or much sugars at all. had braces when i was a teen. Followed all the above advice which was also given by my dentist. My gums still hurt and recede. Almost All my roots are visible. I really think its just unfortunate but natural for some people, theres probably nothing more i can do about it. This article says gum problems start at 40.. Ha! My teeth will probably be starting to fall out by the time im 40.

  • Sarah

    I’m 26 and am suffering from receding gums! I smoked f/t til I was 18 (about 30 a week)then dropped down to becoming a social smoker (about 30 a year!)My teeth have moderately receded on the bottom and are just begiining on the top. I so regret continuing to smoke but I thought an odd one would do no harm. I only smoke when I’m really drunk so now I might have to give up the drink in order to keep my teeth!

  • Jesse

    I’m 44, and since I had my braces taken off about 6 months ago I have been having bad problems with gum recession. I had the problem before braces but it stabilized why I had the braces and was looking great. As soon as I got the braces off and I started wearing my retainer I noticed gum recession starting again. I thought maybe the retainer (clear plastic type) was causing it so I had the Orthodontist trim it back to get it off my gum lines. Not sure what is going on but am seeing it quite extensively on my top canine teeth again. Not sure what to do. I brush 2x a day, floss daily, use listerine and some PerioMed my dentist gave me.

  • Britt

    Braces can actually cause gum recession a couple years after they are removed as your teeth have been moved from their original place. This is one of the reasons so many teenagers and young adults are reporting gum recession nowadays. I’m 22 and I have recession on the top and bottom gums primarily from braces, I already had one graft. Also if you suspect you might clench your teeth in your sleep ask your dentist about wearing a grinding guard at night because grinding and clenching can also cause gum recession.

  • Jake

    I’m 17. I got my braces off shortly before my 17th birthday and I noticed decalcification. A day or so ago, I realized my gums on my upper canines were at different heights. Lo and behold I have gum recession. Is there anything I can do to reverse it? I think it’s in an early stage although its pretty noticeable.

  • Nathan

    Im 19. Ive had gum recession for 3 years now.
    Since September last year I threw every in to get rid of it, but recently i started tried mouthwash.
    If you can put up with the horrible taste, it helps greatly.

  • Sarah

    I recently had a check up with my dental hygienist who told me that she thinks my gum recession is due to having braces fitted years ago. Growing up I had a lot of issues with my oral health as I once smoked (which i thought was the cause) because I had a lot of recurring infections til I gave up at 18. At my check up she reassured me that my gum health was good and my gums have not receded since my previous appt 3 mths earlier. I now brush after meals (if i have the opp) use listerine morning and night and floss once a day. I have also started using ‘BEE PROPOLIS’ available from health food shops. I put 4-5 drops in warm water and gargle twice a day. It’s anti bacterial and anti septic. I notice my gums are a healthier pink colour since starting it.

  • jo

    How successful is a second graft on the same gum area?

  • Molly

    I am 20 and I thought it was odd to have gum recession so early on. I haven’t been to a dentist in a couple years and I do brush really hard. But I also smoked A LOT of maryjane and spice for a year which I know didn’t help at all. Thats when I started to notice it. Now its getting really bad and I have to go see a dentist somehow. My insurance doesnt cover it unless I’m in college full time…

  • Kate

    I too had mild gum recession but after I got my braces off at 40, the gums receded like mad. Now at 51 one of my teeth is almost receded to the jawbone and is beginning to hurt. I am sure I need a gum graft. Sounds horrible, tho.

  • Sheila

    I (51)have had perfectly healthy gums (no receding) until after I got braces off last week after wearing them 28 months. My before pictures clearly show that some of my teeth (receding ones) were pulled down by the braces. I am pretty highly pissed off now.

  • Lindsey

    Molly, I am in the same boat with you… no dental unless i’m in school full time…I guess I should start saving for dentures (at age 19! ha!). In the past 6 months I’ve dealt with two failed minor surgeries for a tooth abscess which led to the tooth being pulled anyway. In the past 5 years about 25 cavities filled, 2-3 root canals, and braces when young, I just cannot handle these teeth I have been “blessed” with anymore! Now with terribly receding gums they are probably going to fall out anyway. I just cannot believe the amount of money spent. For now I’m trying Bee Propolis, oregano oil, Neem toothpaste, and cayenne pepper massages on my gums which, at least 5-6 teeth are showing the roots quite significantly. If anyone has any other advice, please do post. I’m assuming it must be my terrible genetics, stress, and hard, vigorous brushing at a young age that have led me to this pont. Besides that I religiously brush, floss, and use mouthwash……and oh! right! those impacted wisdom teeth that are painfully beginning to pop out??

    I would love to be able to have my immune system rest from my horrid mouth (which funnily enough, looks great from the outside and when I smile) . I definitely agree with the statement that a healthy mouth = a healthy body, and I need both to heal. Any advice would be great as I try my best to eat a raw, organic, pH friendly, vegitarian diet. Any studies that show not eating meat/fish for 10 years could be the root of my problem(s)?

  • Rachel

    I had invisolin bracesfor ten months plus retainers that came off in April this year.bout a month I got told you can stop wet wing retainers full time I noticed a canine felt weird and would have sharp pains. Asked oral surgen(had wisdom teeth removed I’m 16 almost 17) all said they looked healthy. A couple a weeks ago I noticed the same tooth had a receded g line only tooth. Now in constant pain and it feels like it wants to be loose. Going to dentist soon though

  • Dan

    Oh my god I only noticed last week on my one canine that my previously rounded gum has gone up into a point and high up and now my front tooth next to it is doing the same, I used to have no oral hygiene as I was never told to as a child but now I am older I have started to look after them and now they are giving me problems. I usually brush twice a day with pearl drops ( to remove this disgusting staining that has accumulated over the years) and pearl drops mouth wash for smokers, I was smoking 30 a day and now on about 2 and I excersise everyday, I now know I have to look after my moth and body and is really getting me down that now I try it all goes wrong, is their any way in the uk of getting my teeth whitened free or cheaply as I am a full time university student and it is making my socialising extreemly hard as I feel so self conscious about my smile, any information would be amazing as I just want a healthy mouth with an acceptable coloured smile to help me make some friends here, please someone tell me something I could do to get my smile back as it holds me back and has, well…. Made me feel quite suicidal before from all the nasty comments and bullying, I just want to smile once more :'(

  • marcus cole

    Im know 34 years old and in the last 5 years I’ve been getting more more receding gum line I think 1 of the main reasons for this is because I’m constantly getting canker sores in my mouth about 2 3 he’s time at least once or twice its its time that last approximately 20 days* each time electronic toothbrush which means I brush too hard and in last 5 years I’ve had major stress issues which results in canker sores and I do not flows as much as I should I hop with my dentist and me resolve this. So I don’t lose any teeth I know I had stronger strong teeth in the past hopefully I can go see the dentist more often

  • Gary

    I had braces a few years ago but never had any gum problems, I’ve smoked since I was 14 (I’m 19 now) and thought that if I regularly brush my teeth ill be fine. It wasn’t till my teeth began to hurt that I went and saw my dentist last week who said that I’m brushing too hard and that my gums are receding…. I’ve now switched my toothpaste to sensodine, and I plan to floss morning and night…. I love my teeth, and ill do all that I can to keep them…

  • Sophia

    Before I got braces, I hardly ever brushed or flossed, and I never had a problem. When I got braces, I started brushing more often, but not really flossing that much. My gums are all swollen between the cracks between my teeth, and in the middle of my tooth the gums are receding. My teeth feel a little loose, and I’m not sure if that’s because of the braces or the receding gums. I have started flossing every day, but I don’t think it’s helping, because it hurts and my gums bleed. I’m really scared, and I don’t want dentures as a teenager. What should I do??

  • Elisa

    Been having gum receding now for several years too. At first, dentist’s all said it’s from to much pressure applied from toothbrush. It did relax when I stopped. Realized that stress unconsciously was making me press hard. Then I got sick from fibro/etc. Now, I know immune also causing gum issues. Teeth get easily plaque even when brush, and have to manually clean with something, too sticky to remove with brush. Dentist claim might need gum tissue surgery, but no cavities, etc. I know immune is causing problems since when I take a multi-vitamin, my pain subsides in gums. Also, suffer from severe sinus which is causing infections. Help for any herbs, etc.

  • Silas Wafula

    Proper dental care is very expensive in my country but I hope I’ll get a solution for my receding gums.

  • jan

    Im noticing receding aching gums for the first time ever, and my guess is all the aggressive brushing im doing along with the use of a new toothbrush. My younger sibling is experiencing the same with the the new “soft bristles” features. We’re deciding to go back to the normal toothbrushes, and Il’l be trying the dentiste brand toothpaste just in case, maybe the Vit C ingredient in it will help. @Sarah: I’ll try the bee propolis mouth rinse you’ve mentioned, hope it works.

  • Gina C

    I am 42 and my bottom front gums are receding and hurting again. I had braces for 4 years as a kid..I smoked pot and cigs from 15 til I was 40 (off and on) and clench my teeth. Having had braces, i was taught to brush hard or Id have squares on my teeth. At 30 I had a gum graft on one tooth and it didnt take.. I lost a tooth (Horrifying as Ive never even had any cavities and only have had one in my life since!) I now have a pretty decent bridge in the bottom but now the 2 front teeth in the bottom are receding again and i QUIT smoking last year, eat good (mostly, although love sweets) and switched to soft bristles awhile back as I always used medium. They are starting to hurt when I havent had problems in almost 13 years. The chain dentists wont give me a cleaning..they claim I need almost $1000 worth of scaling done first, but when i saw a dentist for a whole year in between these scammers, she never said anything..Now I cant find a decent dentist that is covered by my insurance so will go out of network which is still a nightmare cuz no one knows what the true benefits are. I’ll pay out of pocket because I wont lose anymore teeth!

  • Gina C

    Dan..try white strips for whitening..Just be careful because they can irritate gums..I used them for 6 days and i think thats why my gums are really bugging me now..

    I also have fibro..forgot that can be part of the can take Vit E, Vit C, Vit A and B12 to see if they will help the gums..the only bad thing is Vit C is a bladder irritant and so ill wake up all night..*sigh* good luck everyone