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By Dwight D. Peccora, DDS on

Young Afro-American woman brushing her teeth.

Gum recession is a serious dental health issue that can have a negative impact on the look and overall condition of your smile. Thankfully we have plenty of options to treat this conditions at our Missouri City family dentistry center.

There are many causes of gum recession, including periodontal disease, smoking, and bruxism (teeth grinding). As it turns out, the way you brush and floss can also lead to serious problems affecting your gums.

There's a Wrong Way to Brush and Floss

Many people are surprised to learn that there's a wrong way to brush and floss the teeth. If you brush too aggressively, it can lead to serious harm to various structures of your mouth. The same goes for flossing too forcefully.

The bottom line: If your gums are bleeding after you brush and floss, that's never a good sign. It could be a symptom of gum disease, or it may be an indication of injured gum tissue, which can lead to gum recession.

The Dangers of Gum Recession

Gum recession refers to the loss of tissue along the gumline. When gum recession occurs, the gum tissue will not return on its own. This leads to the exposure of the tooth roots. The tooth roots are meant to be hidden by the gumline.

When tooth roots are exposed, people often experience tooth sensitivity, especially when having hot or cold food items/beverages. The tooth roots are more susceptible to tooth decay, which means that major cavities that lead to root canal infections can start at the gumline. As more of the gum tissue peels away, teeth can feel loose or wiggly. On top of all of this, the overall appearance of your smile is negatively impacted.

Worn Teeth and Dental Abfractions

Forcefully brushing and flossing can do serious damage to the teeth as well as the gums. It's possible to wear down the tooth enamel if you brush too forcefully, weakening your teeth in the process and making tooth sensitivity more likely.

Aggressive brushing and flossing can also make dental abfractions much worse. Dental abfractions are the small notches that appear along the gumline at the tooth roots. The condition is typically caused by long term wear, tear, and pressure on the teeth, though it's believed that forceful oral hygiene practices can exacerbate the condition.

Treatments for These Dental Problems

The ideal treatment for gum recession is a procedure known as gum grafting. Sometimes referred to as soft tissue augmentation, gum grafting is an oral surgery procedure that rebuilds the gumline using artificial gum tissue or soft tissue grafts taken from other parts of the patient's mouth (usually the palate). By suturing these grafts into place, oral surgeons and dental care specialists are able to restore the gumline.

In addition to gum grafting, dentists will also focus on addressing other health issues that may impact patient wellness in addition to gum recession. Abfractions and worn enamel can be addressed using dental restorations, though the ideal restoration can vary from patient to patient.

Tips for Proper Oral Hygiene

When brushing and flossing, consider the following simple tips:

  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles
  • Use a toothbrush with a small head
  • Brush and floss gently but thoroughly
  • Be sure to brush and floss after every meal

Contact Fort Bend Dental

If you would like more information about proper oral hygiene and helping you smile with renewed dental health, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The team here at Fort Bend Dental is eager to meet you in person and help you experience total wellness.

Posted on behalf of Fort Bend Dental

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