When it comes to dental hygiene, we may pay a lot of attention to getting our teeth to look their whitest. But as important as tooth health is, gum health is even more crucial, especially for aging adults. When gums aren’t supported by teeth or jawbones due to demineralization, gum recession can occur, causing gums to literally wear down to expose the tender, sensitive part of the tooth below. This can cause pain to flare up when teeth are introduced to something cold, sweet, or even hot in temperature, creating an unpleasant problem for adults and seniors who simply want to enjoy the foods they love without experiencing pain. Unfortunately, even the healthiest patients who make a point of seeing the dentist regularly, including going in for emergency dentistry check-ups, can end up suffering from gum recession. While this problem occurs to many older people, it’s still possible to stop gum recession in its tracks with the help of a trusted dentist. If you’re suffering from gum recession, here’s what you should do.
Find Out What’s Causing It
As with any health problem, finding out what’s actually going wrong is the first and most effective step to a cure. The causes of gum recession are many. You could be grinding your teeth at night and not even knowing it, which could lead to demineralization and wear. You could be brushing your teeth too hard or using the wrong toothbrush, allowing the enamel on your teeth to wear down and expose the sensitive part of the tooth below the gums. If you’re not visiting your dentist regularly, you could be allowing too much plaque to build up between your teeth, causing your gums to respond by receding. Since one of the jobs of a healthy set of gums is to keep food from getting stuck in your teeth, this can then lead to increased risk of cavities. Even genetics could play an important role in gum recession since some people are born with a thinner or weaker jawbone than others. Whatever the cause, it’s important to talk to your dentist about what might be causing the problem. From there, you’ll be able to take action and do all you can to curb your case of gum recession.
Make Changes to Your Routine
What you find out at the dentist will determine your course of action. If you find, for instance, that you’re brushing too aggressively using a brush that simply isn’t doing the trick, you’ll need to change the way you think about brushing. Using a toothpaste that’s a bit milder should help, along with using a brush that’s just the right texture. While too-soft or cheaply-made bristles could cause you to overdo it, a brush that’s too harsh on the teeth and gums might only exacerbate the problem. If you’re not flossing enough, you could end up causing your gums to recede long before their time.
Use the Right Tools
If you’re having a hard time brushing for the suggested two minutes each morning and evening, make it easier on yourself by purchasing an electric toothbrush. Not only will these instruments time your brushing period to the second so that you never have to catch yourself slacking off, they’re created to vibrate at just the right pressure so that you don’t have to do any unnecessary pushing or pressing. Some models are even created to light up red when you’re brushing too aggressively. If you’re someone who tends to zone out during the process, it’s always helpful to be reminded so you can take the guesswork out of the process. For a more precise flossing routine, try investing in a Waterpik or another type of automated flossing device that uses pressure to deeply clean the area between gums and teeth. This is especially helpful for adults whose gums are sensitive to begin with. For people who grind their teeth at night or when they’re stressed out, getting a night guard can help curb the bad habit while you’re unconscious while staying mindful of stress-clenching can help you get a handle on tooth grinding during the day.
Keep a Low-Acid Diet
If you’re suffering from gum recession, acidic foods are not your ally. Not only will they serve to make your teeth and gums more sensitive, they’ll promote the recession itself by wearing down at your teeth and contributing to demineralization. This doesn’t mean you should stay away from all acidic foods. However, if you’re eating foods, drinks, and dressings with a high acid content, such as vinegar-flavored chips or salad dressings, wine, coffee, and soda. Even citrus fruits like lemons and oranges could have a bad effect on your teeth.