Brookfield Family Dentistry: Thomas Tang, DDS

Gum Recession Causes: Are You at Risk?

By Dr.Thomas Tang on May 28, 2015

A blonde woman with a healthy smileGum recession is a condition in which the soft tissues of the mouth begin to wear down. As the gum tissue deteriorates, the roots of the teeth become exposed, affecting the appearance of the smile, making the teeth more vulnerable to decay, and increasing tooth sensitivity. At the practice of Thomas Tang, DDS, we seek to educate patients about the causes of gum recession so they can exercise proper oral care and prevent gum recession from occurring in the first place. We encourage our patients to attend regular general dentistry exams, which allow us to check for signs of dental problems such as gum recession. To learn more about gum recession causes, read this overview provided by our Brookfield dental team.

Gum Disease

Gum disease is a leading cause of gum recession. As bacteria and plaque accumulate along and under the gum line, they eat away at the hard and soft tissues of the mouth. As the condition progresses, the gum tissue recedes, and the gums pull away from the teeth. To prevent gum disease and gingival recession, patients should practice good oral hygiene on a daily basis. Brush the teeth twice a day, floss daily, use an antibacterial mouthwash, and attend dental exams and cleanings every six months.

Chronic Teeth Grinding

You may be surprised to learn that bruxism, or chronic teeth grinding, can cause gum recession. As you clench or grind your teeth, the excessive force can put pressure on your gum line, causing it to recede. Chronic teeth grinding may be caused by stress, bite misalignment, or missing teeth. Orthodontic care or replacement of missing teeth may treat this condition. If bruxism is caused by stress, you may wish to undergo treatment for this. If bruxism can’t be prevented, patients can wear a nightly mouth guard to protect the teeth and gums from damage.


Some people are simply more prone to gum recession due to genetics. These patients should be especially vigilant about maintaining good oral care and avoiding bad dental habits.

Hormone Changes

Hormonal changes affect the mouth, and can make the patient more vulnerable to gum disease and gum recession. If you are going through puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, you are at an increased risk of gum recession.

Overly Aggressive Tooth Brushing

Many people mistakenly think that applying excess pressure when brushing the teeth will improve their cleanliness. This is false, and overly aggressive brushing may actually harm your teeth. By brushing too hard, you are more likely to wear down your tooth enamel and gum tissue. Instead, you should apply light pressure as you brush, and instead focus on holding the brush at the proper angle (45 degrees), and brushing for a full two minutes.

If you have already developed gum recession and require treatment, we may recommend that you undergo a gum graft. We can refer you to an experienced periodontist who can perform this procedure.

To learn more about how you can prevent gum recession, contact the practice of Thomas Tang, DDS, today.

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17185 W North Ave
Brookfield, WI 53005

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