Receding Gums: Cause, Treatment, Prevention

 My Gums are Receding, What Do I do Now?

A receding gum line can be alarming. When you notice that your gums get thinner and you can see more and more of your teeth, it’s fair to be concerned. Receding gums can affect your confidence, comfort, and overall health. Pluc, you could also be at risk of losing your teeth.

But if you know the cause of receding gums, you can also find out what treatments and preventive measures you can take to improve your health.

What Do Receding Gums Look Like?

Gum recession isn’t a sudden change in your gum line. It’s the gradual disappearance of your gum tissue that covers and protects your teeth. But, just because it’s gradual, doesn’t mean it’s nothing to be concerned about. An untreated receding gum line can cause a host of health issues.

You may be surprised to learn that gum recession is very common. Over 50% of US population has a form of gum recession. But, it’s especially prevalent in older age groups. In fact, 88% of people over the age of 65 experience receding gums. 

So, it’s a common issue, but all the more important to address. That’s why it’s crucial that you’re aware of the warning signs of gum recession.

Signs and Symptoms of Gum Recession

Before your diagnosis, you probably noticed some of the common signs and symptoms associated with receding gums: 

  • Loose teeth
  • Tooth sensitivity or pain
  • Visible lengthening of teeth
  • Exposed roots of teeth
  • Changes in tooth color, due to exposed cementum
  • Wider spaces between teeth
  • Gum inflammation 

Why Are My Gums Receding?

Having receding gums is a common dental sign of aging. But, there are a variety of other factors that can make gum recession arrive earlier and faster. 

Generally, the cause of receding gums is poor oral health and hygiene. If you don’t brush your teeth well, you’re at risk of developing gingivitis. 

Gingivitis is a common type of gum inflammation. In fact, it’s the most common cause for gum recession. Luckily, improving your oral hygiene habits can alleviate it quickly.

But, poor dental hygiene isn’t the only cause for gum recession. Brushing your teeth too aggressively can also wear your gum line away. 

And there are various habits and diseases that can cause or worsen gum recession. People with diabetes and other immunological problems are at a higher risk of gum recession, too. 

Some of the factors that can contribute to receding gums include:

  • Long-term aggressive teeth brushing
  • Long-term neglect of teeth brushing
  • Tartar (hardened plaque) buildup
  • Hormonal changes (in women)
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • AIDS
  • Other autoimmune diseases
  • Long-term use of medications that cause xerostomia (dry mouth)
  • Fragile gum tissue caused by hereditary factors
  • Long-term use of dipping tobacco
  • Vitamin C deficiency
  • Tooth crowding
  • Bruxism

Receding Gums: Degrees of Severity

Did you know that dentists can measure your levels of gum recession? The severity of receding gums even has a measurement name: the Miller classification. Find out the common differences between classes of receding gums to help with your diagnoses.

The 5 stages of gum recession are:

  • Class I: Marginal tissue recession that doesn’t extend past the mucogingival junction, the area where the fragile cheeks and floor of the mouth meet the firmer, keratinized tissue around the teeth and palate.
  • Class II: Marginal tissue recession extends beyond the mucogingival junction. However, there is no loss of attachment to bone or soft tissue.
  • Class III: Includes periodontal (gum) attachment loss or malpositioning of the teeth.
  • Class IV: Severe bone or soft tissue loss in the interdental area with or without severe malpositioning of teeth.

How to Prevent Receding Gums

The best thing you can do is prevent gum disease and recession from happening in the first place. By taking preventive measures, you can protect your gum line effectively. And the best way to prevent receding gums is to brush your teeth and floss properly regularly.

Treatment Options for Receding Gums

If you have receding gums, you probably want to treat them as soon as possible. Restoring the beauty of your smile and alleviating the painful symptoms is very important. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner the treatment starts. And the damage will be significantly less. 

Here are some treatment options for gum disease to prevent receding gums in time:

  • Scaling & root planing: A periodontist or dentist can perform this procedure. Scaling involves scraping tartar from the teeth, both above and below the gumline. And root planing eliminates rough areas on the roots of your teeth, where bacteria are likely to collect.
  • Prescription mouth rinses: Prescription mouthwash for gingivitis contains chlorhexidine, an antimicrobial agent.
  • Antiseptic chips: These chips release chlorhexidine over time, which is an effective disinfectant.
  • Antibiotic gel: The dentist will apply this gel to the gum pockets to prevent further infection.
  • Antibiotic microspheres: These release minocycline, another substance that treats infections.
  • Enzyme suppressants: These oral medications reduce the body’s enzymatic responses that can break down gum tissue.
  • Flap surgery: This surgery can remove tartar and reduce the size of the periodontal pockets that occur when the gums recede.
  • Gum grafts: In severe cases, the only way to rebuild your gum line is to do a gum draft. This procedure involves taking a thin piece of tissue from elsewhere in your mouth, then attaching it where gum tissue has receded. After it heals, the previously exposed tooth root is covered again, reducing sensitivity and preventing tooth decay.

Access Cheaper Gum Recession Treatments

A receding gum line is an important oral health issue. The exposed roots and nerves of your teeth can be incredibly painful. And the only way to treat gum recession is with surgery. But, dental surgery tends to fetch a high price tag too.

But, you don’t have to pay full price for them with a Carefree Dental Card. Our dental discount plan can unlock huge savings at participating dentists. Members can save 15% - 50%* per visit in most instances at participating dentists.

Sign up for a Carefree Dental Card today to get gum recession treatment cheaper!


The Carefree Dental blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The text and pictures within the content are intended for information purposes only. Readers should consult with a licensed dentist or healthcare professional before seeking treatment.

The Carefree Dental Card is not insurance and Carefree Dental is not an insurance provider.

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