What is gum recession?
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Why do we get receding gums?

Unfortunately, there is no one simple answer to this question,
as there seems to be multiple conditions that can lead to receding gums.
causes of receding gums can be divided into two broad categories.  The first is trauma or
injury.  Essentially, these are external, mechanical causes.  The second category is
Infection.  This is an internal cause, at least from a holistic viewpoint.  A third category for
receding gums, where neither injury nor infection seems to play a determining role, might
be considered.  For example, many dentists will tell you that receding gums is a
consequence of ageing.  The problem with that theory is that not everyone experiences
receding gums as they age, and there is no scientific proof of a connection.  Common
sense would indicate that ageing may just allow enough time for one or more of the
causes of receding gums discussed below, to occur.

Trauma or injury:

  • The most common reason for gum recession that is created by trauma or
    injury is brushing too vigorously, or brushing with a tooth brush with
    bristles that are too hard. Fortunately, most modern tooth brushes are made
    with soft nylon bristles that flex sufficiently to prevent this kind of recession.  But firm
    bristled brushes are available, and if used with excessive pressure, seem to be able
    to cause your gums to recede.  Switching to a softer toothbrush usually prevents
    any further receding gums.

  • Bruxism, or grinding your teeth, affects both children and adults. Young children
    may grind their teeth to keep their bite even, as new teeth come into their mouth.
    Emotional stress has been implicated as the most probable reason adults grind
    their teeth. Adults who do this regularly may also experience gum recession on
    some of their back teeth. The recession may be related to the stress of the tooth
    grinding, but no one really knows exactly how this occurs.

  • Some people may have very thin, fragile gums, especially in the region of the lower
    front teeth.  This usually happens if a tooth sticks out from the adjacent teeth.
    When this occurs, the tooth often has thin gum tissue on the front and the jaw bone
    is also very thin, or absent under the gums. Without adequate bone support
    underneath this thin gum tissue, your gums can recede relatively easily, especially
    from firm tooth brushing.  Avoiding brushing doesn’t help because bad smelling
    plaque will then grow and irritate the gums. Solving the problem, especially in
    severe cases, may require braces or orthodontic treatment, a gum tissue graft, or
    even extraction of the tooth.

  • Another reason you can have receding gums on lower front teeth is if the small
    muscle, called a frenum, is misplaced.  The frenum is normally connected from the
    inside of your lower lip to the gum tissue between the two lower front teeth. If it is
    misplaced, the frenum is usually attached to the gums somewhere in the middle of
    a tooth.  When this occurs, each time the lower lip moves, it tugs on the edge of the
    gum tissue until it starts to pull it down from the tooth.  Then we get receding gums
    on this tooth. Sometimes this can be corrected with a gum tissue graft.  

  • If you have a tooth extracted for whatever reason, as the bone heals, the level of
    bone never grows back to the full height that existed when the tooth was in your
    mouth. It seem as though the functioning tooth is needed to stimulate the body to
    maintain the full height of bone around it.  Without the tooth, the level of bone is
    also reduced in height on the teeth adjacent to the site of the extraction. As the
    bone goes down, the gums go down with it. The net result is some gum recession
    and newly exposed root surfaces on the side of the teeth facing the empty space
    where the tooth was extracted.

  • Mechanical devices in the mouth, such as braces can sometimes lead to localized
    gum recession.  If prolonged irritation of the adjacent gum margin occurs, either
    directly from the part of the braces near the gum line, or from food particles trapped
    by the braces, receding gums may occur.  

  • Tongue piercing can also contribute to receding gums. This is because the barbell
    device that is usually worn with tongue piercing can frequently rub against the gums
    on the inside of a tooth, and injure the gum tissue sufficiently to cause it to recede.  
    Accidently or intentionally chewing on the barbells can also crack or chip teeth,
    which can require costly dental treatment to fix.

  • Chewing snuff has been known to lead to receding gums in the part of your mouth
    where the snuff is held between the teeth and the cheek or lips.  The snuff is a
    chronic irritant to the gum tissue it contacts, not to mention it is a potent cancer
    causing agent or carcinogen.


  • Receding gums can be a sign of gum disease. Dentists call gum infections
periodontal disease.  Click here to learn more about gum disease and how it
causes receding gums.  Most people aren’t aware of any gum infection, because it
is usually painless.  But if gum disease causes receding gums between any of your
front teeth, the resulting dark space between your teeth is easily seen.
    Your gums become diseased when your immune system isn’t strong enough to
    prevent infection from the many different types of germs that will infect your gums if
    given the opportunity.  Even mild receding gums between teeth may be a sign of
    long term or chronic gum disease, and resolving the infection is of primary
    importance.  This is because as long as your gums are infected, your immune
    system is being heavily challenged by many types of disease causing germs. These
    germs can spread to other parts of your body, including possibly your heart.  If your
    gums aren’t healthy, how can the rest of your body be well?

  • You can also end up with receding gums if you have had chronic gum infection, and
    you are treated by a dentist who recommends and performs gum surgery where
    your gums are infected.  With this kind of gum treatment, part of the infected gum
    tissue is removed, to ‘treat’ the infection.  The result of this treatment is usually
    surgically created gum recession, with longer appearing, often very sensitive teeth.  
    Treating infections with surgery seems to be limited these days only to the dental
    profession. Fortunately, patients are becoming aware that it is rarely needed. As
    you will learn below, infections are best handled by strengthening your
    immune system.

  • Infections that seriously challenge your immune system don’t have to start in your
    mouth. HIV or AIDS is one such example that is associated with a severely
    weakened immune system.  In these circumstances, gum disease may occur more
    easily, along with the gum recession that sometimes results as a symptom of gum

  • If you are susceptible to cavities on the gum line of your teeth, especially where you
    already have experienced receding gums, and the roots of your teeth have become
    exposed, your gums may recede even further.  This is because the often sensitive
    gum line cavities on the roots of teeth are usually covered with accumulated dental
    plaque, which contains millions of germs and the irritating, destructive enzymes
    being produced by these germs.  Unfortunately, your gums then suffer as much as
    your teeth.
Gum recession is a dental condition that doesn’t seem to affect as many people as does
gum disease, or cavities, but it can be of particular concern to someone when it occurs.  
When your gums recede, they slowly move down the root of the tooth, exposing some of
the tooth root in the process.  These exposed root surfaces sometimes become sensitive
to cold or touch because the nerve inside the root has tiny extensions that may reach the
root surface.   Sensitivity from receding gums, which can be severe in some people’s
mouths, is what usually drives people to the dentist or the drug store, for relief.
Dr. Paul Gilbert
How do I repair receding gums?

Think of your finger nails and the skin surrounding them.  
The relationship of your nails and the skin is similar to the relationship of your teeth and
your gums – that is, you have a soft tissue, be it your gums or your skin, connected to the
hard tissue of your teeth or your nails. A rich blood supply is essential for rapid and
efficient healing to occur.  Because the connection of your gums to your teeth occurs on
the outside of the body, the blood supply that supports this connection is confined to the
connective tissue underneath the surface of the gums. This means that growth, repair
and healing of receding gums is somewhat limited, compared to the inside of the body,
where attachments of different types of structures, such as muscle to bone, are
completely surrounded by a blood supply.  

With this in mind, if your body is to repair receding gums, whether from infection or from
injury, doesn’t it make sense to support and promote healing as much as possible?  Even
if a surgical repair is possible, healing must still take place.  
All healing depends on the
presence of an adequate, or preferably, an abundant supply of the nutritional
factors which promote healing,
such as vitamins, active enzymes, minerals,
carbohydrates and complex sugars, fats and essential fatty acids, proteins and essential
amino acids, and other phytonutrients.

Most people today fail to obtain all these necessary nutritional components from their
diet.  Fortunately, there is a simple solution to making them a part of your daily food
Now you can provide the best nutritional support available for healing
your gums, with appropriate vitamins and all natural, organic, green whole food
supplements easily added to your diet.*
 Click here to learn how you can do this.

How do I stop receding gums?    

If your gums have receded because of injury or trauma, then removal of the offending
substance or object causing the injury, will usually stop the receding gums and prevent
further root exposure.  Once this happens, your gums will start to heal, but will remain
close to the level caused by the injury.  Since healing is such a critical component of this
you can provide support for this healing with the right kind of vitamins
and all natural, organic, green whole food supplementation.
Click here to learn
how you can do this.

How do I reverse receding gums?

Your gums must have bone tissue under them, except for the part of the gums that is
directly connected to your teeth by means of specialized attachment fibers. The bone
under your gums is the same bone that surrounds the roots of your teeth.  When your
gums recede, the bone underneath them also recedes, or the bone may already have
been destroyed by chronic gum infection.  After this occurs, your gums can no longer
grow back up along the tooth surface and reattach to the tooth at a higher level.  
reversing receding gums is not likely to occur by natural means.

However, it is sometimes possible for a dentist, either a general dentist or a Periodontist
gum specialist, to graft gum tissue onto the exposed root of a tooth with severe gum
recession.  The soft tissue for the graft may be obtained from the adjacent teeth, or it may
be from the roof, or palate, of your mouth.  
You can provide much needed support
for the healing phase of the surgery to reverse receding gums, with special
vitamins and all natural, organic, green whole food supplementation.
Click here
for more information on how to do this.

Finally, please see a dentist regularly. Appropriate dental treatment by a biologically
trained dentist, and improved mouth hygiene, as taught by a holistically motivated dental
hygienist can also do wonders to better the health of your mouth. To find a biologically
dentist or hygienist, go to the website of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and
www.iaomt.org, or the Holistic Dental Association, www.holisticdental.org.
Dr. Paul Gilbert
The purpose of this page is to explain why our gums
recede and what can be done about it.
Healthy Teeth 'n' Gums
Reverse Receding Gums
Dr. Paul Gilbert

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