Gum recession, also referred to as Gingival recession, is a common problem in adults over the age of 40. This condition occurs when the gums pull away from the teeth, exposing their roots. If you are over the age of 40, you may have noticed your dentist taking measurements on each of your teeth and noting them on your chart. Your dentist is probably using Miller’s classification system to note recession in the gums surrounding each of your teeth.
There are variety of factors that can contribute to gum recession, however, periodontal disease is the most common cause. When bacteria is not removed from the gums and teeth with regular flossing and brushing, it can build up between the teeth and below the gum line. This leads to chronic inflammation and can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth or recede. Overaggressive flossing and brushing can also contribute to gum recession. This can occur at anytime in life, not just after the age of 40. Bruxism (clenching and grinding the teeth) is another contributing factor. For many individuals, Bruxism occurs at night while they are sleeping. The individual may not even be aware of the problem since it occurs during sleep. Stomach acid that occurs in the mouth due to vomiting can also lead to gum recession. This is typically with bulimia, an eating disorder characterized by purposeful and frequent vomiting after meals.
If you have noticed that your gums are pulling away from your teeth, the first step is to visit your dentist. After a thorough examination, your dentist can determine the underlying cause or causes for your gum recession. He or she can then recommend the most appropriate treatment to deal with the underlying cause and prevent further recession.