Receding gums can be a real problem that exposes the roots of your teeth. Exposed roots lead to increased sensitivity, a higher chance of infection, and possible tooth loss. Although receding gums are often a side effect of periodontal disease or gingivitis, there are other causes that can increase the chances of gum recession. The following tips can help you avoid these.
Tip #1: Use the right toothbrush
Hard, stiff bristles on a toothbrush actually push the gums back, damaging and weakening them over time. Opt for a soft-bristled brush instead, as these are gentler on your gums. If the soft bristles seem too soft, you can use a medium bristle brush unless your dentist recommends otherwise. For those with small palates or smaller teeth, you may want to consider a child's brush. Not only do these have softer bristles, they are sized so that you are less likely to scrub the gums as you scrub the teeth.
Tip #2: Don't brush too vigorously
Hard brushing doesn't get your teeth any cleaner, instead it just causes your gums to weaken and recede. The way to clean teeth and less plaque isn't in how vigorously you brush, but in the method you use. Hold the brush at a slight angle to your tooth surface and move the brush in circular, up and down motion. This allows the tips of the bristles to clean the surface of the teeth along with removing any food particles or plaque sitting right at the gum line. When using this method, teamed with a soft bristled brush, the teeth can get clean without any damage to the gums. Click here for info on proper brushing techniques.
Tip #3: Combat tooth grinding
Grinding your teeth doesn't just wear away your tooth enamel, it also puts pressure on your gums and can wear them away. Many people grind while they are asleep, so they are unaware and unable to stop. You can be fitted with a mouth guard that will protect your teeth and relieve some of the pressure on your gums. While over-the-counter guards are available, a custom-fitted mouth guard is better because it won't irritate or wear down your gum tissue. Your dentist will take an imprint of your teeth to have the guard made so it fits snugly with no overlap onto the gums.
For more help with treating or avoiding receding gums, contact a dentist in your area.