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What Causes Gum Recession and How to Treat It

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Gum recession can lead to serious dental complications if not prevented early.

Gum recession can lead to serious dental complications if not prevented early.

Gum Recession

Do you suffer from receding gums? You may not be aware of the problem until you visit a dentist. This can be a gradual process, and it may occur without you noticing. I would like to discuss a few different methods for dealing with this problem. I will also be touching upon some of the causes of gum recession as well. Receding gums don't just look unattractive, they can potentially cause tooth loss. Having gaps or pockets under the gums allows bacteria to begin to grow. This can then cause problems to the root structure.

Bass Technique

My daughter is a dental therapist and I would first like to begin with advice that she gave me. She suggested the bass technique. This is a method of brushing with the brush at a 45-degree angle to clean the gum line. In the video further down the page, this type of method is shown.

Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide

The second method is one that I heard about many years ago from my aunt who was a nurse. She was a smoker and suffered from receding gums. Her dentist told her to use baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. This sounded very strange indeed. Follow the directions below:

  1. Pour a small amount of baking soda on a saucer.
  2. Pour some hydrogen peroxide into the cap from the bottle. If you have never used it before, dilute it with water.
  3. Dip your toothbrush into the diluted hydrogen peroxide to wet the bristles and then into the baking soda.
  4. Gently brush at the gum line.
  5. If you have never used hydrogen peroxide before, you may notice that it will bubble. This is normal. It will also bleach your clothes so be careful not to splash this onto whatever you are wearing.
Red Wine and Garlic

Red Wine and Garlic

Red Wine and Garlic

The third method I personally haven't tried. This was shared with me by a retired Norwegian gentleman who used to run a health food store. He recommends taking a small glass of red wine and putting a garlic clove into it. Leave this for a day and then use as a mouth rinse. His customer who tried this came back into his shop and was astounded at the results.

These are just three of the methods that are used to treat receding gums. Now, let's take a look at what causes them.

What Causes Gum Recession?

Aggressive brushing: This can start the process of gum recession. Think about how many times you brush your teeth almost on auto-pilot. It's easy to let the mind wander. Now, multiply that by the number of years you have been brushing your teeth. If you want to keep your teeth until old age, then gentle thorough brushing is a habit you should be getting into and also one to encourage your children to do. We always seem to be in a hurry nowadays, in the mornings we're running late and at night we're too tired. Take your time and brush your teeth slowly and thoughtfully to keep from accidentally damaging the gum line.

Smoking and tobacco products: Not only is smoking bad for your lungs, it is bad for your teeth. Plaque is more prevalent in smokers than non-smokers. This could be due to the smoking or the lack of dental care. The toxic pollutants which give you black lungs are swirling in your mouth and around your teeth.

Hormonal changes: This is something seen more in women than men due to their changes during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Hormone fluctuation, even though a monthly cycle, can cause gums to be sensitive which leads to brushing incorrectly due to the discomfort.

Incorrect brushing: Not cleaning your teeth properly can also lead to problems resulting in receding gums.

Piercing: Although piercings in the lips or in the mouth may be popular, it will likely result in dental problems. The constant irritation and rubbing will eventually cause a problem for the teeth and gum line.

Gum Tissue Graft Surgery

If your gums are receding to the point where you are in pain, speak to your dentist about the possibility of grafting gum tissue in these areas. When I initially wrote this article I included a video showing this type of surgery. Due to new regulations on this host site regarding graphic videos, even those of a medical nature, are removed. However, if you wish to see what the procedure involves, you can go to YouTube and search for gum graft surgery.

**It is graphic so if you are on the squeamish side, maybe you shouldn't watch it.

In most cases, this could have been avoided.

Prevention Is Better Than the Cure

Of course, preventing gum recession is the best option. To recap, here are a few reminders:

  • Treat your teeth gently when brushing
  • Give up smoking
  • Visit your dentist
  • Don't wear adornments in your lips or mouth

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2013 Mary Wickison

I hope you have found this useful

Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on January 21, 2019:

Hi Glenn,

I hope it helps, I know it did for my aunt. Sometimes the solutions to our problems are right in our home already.

Good luck.

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on January 21, 2019:

At my age I have receding gum lines and I’m getting concerned about it. My dentist recommended the Oral B toothbrush that you also mentioned and I've been using that. I see how it avoids damaging the gums by helping me concentrate on just the teeth.

Nevertheless, I don’t see any improvement and I was hoping to find additional solutions. Thanks to you Mary, you gave me more options. I’m going to try the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide method that you talked about too.

Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on May 12, 2013:

Hello Ms Dora,

The red wine was new to me as well. My friend was adamant that it works, though. Thank you for your comment and vote.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 12, 2013:

Voted Up and Useful. Thanks for the useful, practical suggestions to take care of receding gums. The red wine/garlic treatment is new to me, but I'll definitely keep it on my list.

Mary Wickison (author) from Brazil on May 10, 2013:

Hello Joe,

I am pleased you found it interesting. If we plan to keep our teeth into old age, the time for action is now.

Wonderful to hear from you.

Obrigada e Tchau

Hawaiian Odysseus from Southeast Washington state on May 09, 2013:

Hi, Blond Logic! At my age, I found this article to be most interesting, informative, and useful. The health of our teeth and gums is nothing to be minimized. You provided some innovative remedies, and I will certainly look into them. Aloha and mahalo for sharing!

Joe