Receding gums, to most people is a vanity issue. They worry about what their smiles are going to look like, and how others will look at them. However, it becomes much more than that when the causes and possible outcomes are brought to light; it can be a serious health risk.
Causes of receding gums
In many cases, receding gums, also known as gingival recession, refers to the exposure of the roots of the teeth due to the loss of gum tissue. The most common cause for the loss of gum tissue, is gum disease , or periodontitis. This begins when plaque, formed by bacteria, accumulates on teeth and gums. When plaque is not removed daily, it produces toxins that irritate the gums. Eventually, these toxins destroy the tissues of the gums, causing them to separate from the teeth (recede) and form spaces called pockets.
Progression of receding gums
The loss of gum tissue is more common in adults, but often begin the early stages as teenagers. Healthy gums are usually pink, tight to the teeth, and has a scalloped or curved appearance. The early stages of problem is characterized by red or swollen gums that are tender and bleed easily when brushed. At this point, it is reversible and can be detected by your dentist during regular checkups. As the disease progresses, it can destroy the bone and soft tissue supporting the teeth. The teeth may become loose and have to be removed by a dentist. When the disease get to the advanced stage of peridontitis, there is usually a sever case of bad breath, inflammation of the gums which may contain pus, and the teeth get so lose that they fall out.
Dangers of receding gums
While the most obvious danger of having receding gums is the eventual loss of teeth, there are many more serious health risks that can be associated with this. Receding gums is known as the “Silent Killer” because is the gateway of serious afflictions, such as periodontal disease which has been proven to be linked to much more serious conditions. Among these are heart disease, heart attack, stroke, respiratory disease, diabetes, and even premature and underweight babies. Taking care of receding gums, and getting treatment in the early stages is extremely important in helping to maintain the overall health of your body.
Treating receding gums
It has been said that the best treatment to any condition is prevention. However, many are not aware of the risks of receding gums, until they are already affected. Regular dental checkups help with early detection, and further recession can be prevented by regular flossing and brushing. However, it may be too far gone where this will help. Depending on the stage of the disease, gum recession can be treated by surgically moving healthy gum tissue to the areas where the gum has receded. This procedure is usually done in the dental office with local anesthetic.