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.
Sometimes 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.