Can Receding Gums Grow Back? Importance of Catching It Early

Can Receding Gums Grow Back? Importance of Catching It Early
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Can Receding Gums Grow Back? Importance of Catching It EarlyClinical Content Reviewed by Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
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Table of Contents

  1. What Is Gum Recession?
  2. Can You Stop Gum Recession?
  3. Prevention
  4. References

You cannot regrow gums that have receded, but you can take steps to stop them from receding further and to prevent receding gums in the future.

Gum recession can cause teeth to look longer, cause sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks, and even lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Some people are genetically predisposed to thinner gums and gum recession, while others may struggle with gum infections that cause recession.

What Is Gum Recession?

Few people notice gum recession until it causes other problems with their oral health, but this condition can often be the first sign of gum disease like gingivitis or periodontitis, which is more severe.

Gum recession might be genetic. If left untreated, it can lead to other health issues. In some cases, gum recession might be a symptom of another problem that needs treatment.

Typically, healthy gums sit around the tooth like a cuff, but when a gum begins to recede, the tooth might appear longer, part of the root could be exposed, and the gum might form a dent or bump where it meets the tooth. You may not feel anything around the tooth where gum recession begins, or you may develop sensitivity to hot or cold foods, or to foods with lots of acid, spice, or sugar.

Reporting these changes to your dentist early means treatment can slow or stop gum recession, but serious gum recession might require surgery.

Can You Stop Gum Recession & Regrow Gums?

You can stop, slow, or prevent gum recession, but once gums have receded, they will not grow back.

It is better to stop gum recession as soon as you notice it, so it does not get worse and lead to other oral health problems.

These are potential causes of gum recession:

  • Genetics: Some people have thinner gums than others, so they are more likely to develop problems with gum recession, even without an injury or infection. Some individuals also have larger tooth roots or attachment muscles, which might push gums out of the way.
  • Trauma: Injury to the mouth from an accident can cause gum recession.
  • Tobacco: All tobacco products are toxic and cause damage to your oral health, including to your gums. One sign of gum damage from tobacco use is recession.
  • Poorly fitting dental appliances: If you have a dental appliance like clear plastic aligners, retainers, bridges, or dentures that do not fit, this can cause problems with your gums that lead to recession. You are also likely to feel discomfort or pain.
  • Brushing your teeth too hard: Lots of people use too much pressure, brush their gums too hard, or use a toothbrush with hard bristles. This can cause gum recession from constant irritation.
  • Gum disease: Gingivitis and periodontitis are gum infections that can trigger gum recession. These are also often accompanied by bad breath, reddened gums, sensitivity at the tooth’s root, bleeding after brushing teeth, and tooth decay

If gums have receded so the root is exposed, there are some options your dentist will offer, depending on how serious the problem is. They might apply a simple sealant to protect the root and advise you to brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush. They might fill the exposed area like filling a cavity.

Advanced gum recession might require a different surgery called a graft, in which gum tissue is grafted onto the area. Although dentists are studying new ways to help gums regenerate or stop receding, these are the best current treatments.

The underlying cause must also be addressed to prevent further gum recession or additional oral health problems.

Preventing Receding Gums

While you cannot regrow gums that have receded, you can take steps to prevent the problem, especially if you know you are at higher risk of developing the problem. Here are some steps to reduce the impact on your gums and prevent gum recession:

  • Brush your teeth gently, with a soft-bristled brush, at a 45-degree angle.
  • Make sure your toothbrush fits in your mouth so you can reach all your teeth, and be sure to replace it every three to four months.
  • Clean between your teeth at least once per day, and brush your teeth at least twice per day.
  • Reduce how many sugary or acidic foods and drinks you consume.
  • Go to your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.
  • Use a non-irritating mouthwash, perhaps one that does not have alcohol, or make a saline rinse for yourself at home.
  • Quit using tobacco products, including cigarettes or vape pens, which might involve a visit to your doctor for support.
  • Discuss any signs of gum disease with your dentist and follow their prescribed treatment plan.
  • Make sure oral devices like clear plastic aligners fit properly.

Taking steps to prevent gum recession can reduce your risk of gum disease and other associated oral health problems, and keep your smile glowing.

General References

Gum Recession: Causes and Treatments. American Dental Association (ADA).

Gum Disease. Mouth Healthy, from the American Dental Association (ADA).

Gum Graft Surgery. American Academy of Periodontology (AAP).

Brushing Your Teeth. Mouth Healthy, from the American Dental Association (ADA).

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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