Have you ever heard the expression, “he’s long in the teeth”? It means that someone is getting old. Teeth sometimes appear “longer” due to a receding gumline. We often think this is a normal part of the aging process, but in actuality, it may be a sign of harmful gum disease. If you have noticed that your teeth look a little longer lately, you’re not alone. A dentist is here to talk about what exactly gum recession means and how you can prevent it.
Is It Gum Recession Normal?
Gum recession is a fairly common dental problem, but that doesn’t mean it’s normal. In fact, it’s something you should get treated as soon as possible. Most of the time, it’s hard to tell your gums are receding because we don’t generally take a close look at our gumlines. The first sign of receding gums is usually tooth sensitivity. If your teeth are sensitive to hot, cold, or sweet things, visit your dentist to determine if receding gums are to blame.
Why Are Your Gums Receding?
The most common reason behind receding gums is gum disease, or a bacterial infection in the gum tissue. When you have gum disease, bacteria attack the structures keeping your teeth anchored to your gums, causing your gums to pull away from your teeth. If you don’t get gum disease treated soon enough, it could even result in tooth loss.
Other factors to blame for receding gums include:
- Grinding or clenching your teeth. If you wake up with a sore jaw, you might be grinding your teeth at night. Talk to your dentist about getting a nightguard to prevent harmful contact while you sleep.
- Brushing your teeth too aggressively. Apply only the gentlest amount of pressure when brushing. Think of it more as polishing an eggshell rather than trying to sand down a floor.
- Drinking too many sports and energy drinks. These beverages contain unhealthy amounts of acid that damages your teeth and gums. To rehydrate at your next game or practice, stick to water instead.
- Tobacco use. Nothing good comes from smoking or chewing tobacco. If you need help quitting, ask your dentist or doctor for resources.
- Excessive use of store-bought whitening products. If you want your pearly whites to shine brighter, your dentist can offer safe treatment that won’t irritate your gum tissue like many over the counter options.
The best way to prevent gum recession is to take care of your mouth with regular brushing, flossing, and checkups with your dentist. If you find your teeth looking a little longer than usual, make sure to book an appointment with your dentist to get it treated as soon as possible.
About the Author
Dr. Raj Vekariya aims to make all of his patients in the Canonsburg, PA community feel welcome. He comes up with personalized treatment plans for each patient. If your teeth have been looking long lately, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Raj via his website or by calling (724) 300-3700.