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Receding Gums – What You Should Do

Excerpt: Your gums act as part of the foundation for your teeth, if your gums are unhealthy...
Table of Contents

What Causes Receding Gums?

Receding gums is a condition where the gums pull back from the enamel of the tooth. Your tooth travels further into your gums than it would appear. One of the main reasons for this is bad oral care. Your gums are very sensitive and can show signs of gingivitis fairly early on. If your gums are receding the cause likely originated some time ago since gums recession is a slow process. If your gums start having negative symptoms, you need to take more care of them immediately. 

Your gums act as part of the foundation for your teeth, if your gums are unhealthy, your teeth can develop a number of issues. Unless you change your brushing habits or your lifestyle, the gums typically, won’t get healthier.

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Gum Recession Symptoms

What do receding gums look like? Your gum’s tasks include protecting and keeping your teeth fixed in place. If your gum recedes a significant amount it can show in the following ways:


  • Tooth displacement – Your teeth can move over time.
  • Tooth sensitivity – Your teeth may be sensitive to temperature.
  • Toot loss – If you have severe gum recession, teeth can fall out.
  • Promote decay – If you have more surface area exposed, you’re more likely to get a cavity.
  • Bad breath – Infections causing gum recession can also cause bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.
  • Puffy gums – Infections cause puffiness, which is an early warning symptom.
  • Pain/sore gums – Your gums should cause discomfort in some way, even before the recession. 

Gum Recession Tips

Pay attention to your gums on a weekly basis. You don’t need to get the measuring tools out, but you can be aware of how they look, and feel, what color they are and if they bleed. Lots of these signs and symptoms generally, show up early on so if you do notice changes, you can adjust your strategy.

How To Prevent Receding Gums

Gum recession prevention is far easier than treatment, since gums are sensitive, they will generally, start showing negative signs and symptoms early. One of the main reasons for gum recession is improper oral care. If you notice your gums show any of these symptoms:


  • Puffiness
  • Pain/discomfort
  • Redness
  • Bleeding
Then you should seriously consider adjusting your oral healthcare technique. For really good oral care, check out the teeth cleaning guide we released a while ago.

Oral Health Care Tips

For an above-average oral care routine does the following two times a day, once when you wake up, and immediately before you to bed:

  • Brush each quarter of your mouth for 30 sec.
  • Floss your mouth for 1-2 minutes.
  • Swish mouthwash for 30 seconds.
  • Use a Water pick (optional).
Should also consider getting a dental checkup once every six months.

However, if you already have receding gums, simply increasing your oral care, may not be good enough to reverse the problem.

Do You Have Gingivitis Or Periodontitis?

Receding gums is an indication that you have gum disease (gingivitis), or if it is severe gum disease, it can be considered periodontitis.

There are multiple stages of periodontitis:


Gingivitis occurs when the infection has not yet had time to reach the bone. There are a few signs and symptoms that show up, but most are relatively painless. Some early symptoms are bleeding, puffiness, and redness. If you notice these symptoms early, increasing your oral care frequency and quality is often enough to treat them.

Slight Periodontal Disease

If you have periodontal disease it is not reversible, but it can be manageable. At this stage, the infection has begun to attack the jaw bone. If the infection continues to attack the jaw bone your teeth positioning can be affected, and you can even lose your teeth.

Moderate Periodontal Disease

If your gum disease is allowed to worsen, you will get moderate periodontal disease. It will be similar to step 2, but the symptoms will be worse. At this stage, your bloodstream and immune system are at risk as more bacteria will be able to attack you.

Once you get to this stage, you may be left to teat through deep cleaning, this consists of:
  • Root planing
  • Teeth scaling

Advanced Periodontal Disease

At this stage, you are at severe risk of losing bone, by as much as 50-90%! Your gums will also begin to show even more severe symptoms, like oozing pus. The advanced stage is when you are significantly more likely to experience tooth displacement and loss. The plaque and tartar will have formed deep pockets in your gums that will need to be treated through a deep clean at the dental clinic.
Receding Gums - What You Should Do - 2 - Smiles Dental Group

How To Treat Receding Gums

If you have receding gums, they will be treated in one of the following ways depending on the severity:


The following medications can help with pain, discomfort, and healing.

  • Topical antibiotic gel
  • Antiseptic chips
  • Antimicrobial mouthwash
  • Enzyme suppressants

Deep Cleaning -Tooth Scaling And Root Planing

In this procedure we sometimes use a local anesthetic, to comfortably allow for tartar and plaque removal from above and below the gum line (scaling) and rough spots on the tooth root are smoothed (planning). 
The purpose of smoothing the rough spots on the tooth/teeth is to remove bacteria and offer a clean surface for the gums to reattach to the teeth. Root planning and scaling are done when we determine that you have calculus and plaque under the gums that need to be removed.


In severe cases, you may need oral surgery to treat your gum recession. Flap surgery is a process that is used to reduce the number of bacteria, the goal of flap surgery is to have a more secure fit for the gums.


The goal here is to revive the gums. The periodontist will place a piece of synthetic tissue, bone, or organic tissue where it is needed to help the gums grow.

Frequently Asked Questions

Both can be treated, but periodontitis is not curable, it is only manageable. Gingivitis can be reversible at home if it is diagnosed early enough.

Yes, you will need to improve your oral care routine until the conditions go away. You can see a change in the symptoms as early as 2-4 weeks,

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