Many of our patients ask us about gum health. They want to know what keeps gums healthy and at an acceptable level around teeth. They often have a lot of questions: Why do some patients experience site specific areas of recession while other patients deal with more generalized gum loss throughout the mouth? Is it trauma that causes gums to recede or exposure to oral bacteria that irritates tissues, causing gums to shrink away in an attempt to avoid inflaming toxins? Or is it possible to inherited bad gums? Should you just give up hope of your gums ever being healthy?
We understand why so many patients are asking; gum recession frustrates many Canadians. This month, we hope to answer some of these questions and to help you to improve your gum health. After all, gum health impacts the entire oral system, and when gums are in poor shape, it can damage a patient’s confidence, especially when front teeth reveal the signs of recession.
Is It Just Due To Oral Bacteria?
Even healthy mouths are covered in bacteria — some friendly and some not so friendly. The act of brushing and flossing daily helps keep a healthy balance between healing and damaging microbes. Colonies of bacteria that may be trying to set up permanent residence around teeth are broken up by the cleaning, and this weakens the invaders and reduces their numbers.
Left to their own devices bacteria quickly grow in number. This can be damaging in mouths that lack adequate oral hygiene as food debris provides sustenance to bacteria, and they in turn release acid and toxins into your mouth. It’s these acids and toxins that erode tooth enamel and irritate gum tissue, causing it to swell, bleed easily, and pull away from teeth. To make matters worse, pulled away gums often develop pockets that trap more food particles and bacteria that leads to supporting bone becoming inflamed and irritated.
So is it just bacteria that cause gums to recede? No. It’s the perfect storm of bacteria and poor oral hygiene that causes gums to become irritated.
But What About Patients Who Brush and Floss Daily?
This is probably one of the most frustrating situations for patients. They’re brushing, flossing, rinsing, brushing some more, and yet their gums show signs of irritation and recession – what’s that all about? Well, we know that bacteria plays a role in gum disease, but “force” also causes gum levels to change. What we mean by force is unbalanced pressure being exerted on certain teeth or areas of the mouth. When a person clenches and grinds their teeth, incredible pressure is being exerted; this force causes teeth to flex and the surrounding tissue accommodates the flexion, and in time they adapt to the movement of teeth during times of grinding. This could be a cause of recession in a patient with good hygiene.
Worried about gum recession? Looking for treatment to restore your gum health? The general dentists at Ranchland Dental can help! Follow our next blog as we discuss treatment options for gum disease.