As early as infancy, both our parents and dentists tell us of the importance of brushing our teeth to protect against various forms of diseases. However, what most children, and even adults, are never shown is the proper way of brushing their teeth and the correct time limit. While improperly brushing your teeth will still protect against bacteria and plaque, it will open the door for other health issues, such as receding gums.
What Is Receding Gums?
Receding gums refers to the condition that occurs when your gum starts to recede, or withdraw, away from your teeth. The more this occurs, the more the root of your tooth begins to show, with the area eventually turning into a hotbed for bacteria and plaque. The longer a case of receding gums is left untreated, the more damage it can do to your teeth; in a worst case scenario, your teeth will eventually fall out. When you notice your gums start to recede, you need to take action to prevent any further recession as soon as possible.
What Are the Symptoms of Receding Gums?
The symptoms of receding gums are very easy to spot, even in the early stages. If you’re noticing small gaps occurring between your gums and your teeth, this is usually the first sign of receding gums. Later symptoms can include your teeth looking “longer” than usual, due to the absence of your gums, and a higher degree of sensitivity to food and drinks at cold and hot temperatures. Dentists recommend you dedicate a few minutes of your time each week to meticulously look over your teeth and gums; if you notice any significant changes, contact your dentist right away. The earlier you can catch your gums receding, the better your chances of treatment.
What Are the Causes of Receding Gums?
While there are many causes of receding gums, dentists agree that one cause is prevalent over all others: brushing your teeth too hard or too long. Many parents pass on improper brushing techniques to their children, only because they were never given proper brushing techniques themselves. When you brush your teeth too aggressively, the protective enamel on your teeth will wear down, eventually causing your gums to withdraw. In addition, using a toothbrush with hard bristles will also create the same effect.
Not brushing your teeth often enough is also another contributing factor to receding gums. Periodontal disease, which can result from a buildup of too much plaque, will also eat away at your teeth’s enamel and eventually affect your gums. Like with aggressive brushing, periodontal disease is one of the leading causes of receding gums.
Even if you brush, floss and rinse with mouthwash on a regular basis, if you’re not seeing the dentist routinely, you’re still at risk for receding gums. A dentist uses specialized tools to remove plaque buildup in hard-to-reach spots, giving you a thorough cleaning that you can’t get using any at-home toothbrushes. Not seeing the dentist often enough will cause this hard-to-reach plaque to build up, eventually causing your gums to recede.
If you’re a female, you’re unfortunately more at risk for receding gums due to the hormonal changes your body goes through during certain periods of your life. For example, pregnancy and menopause are two major hormonal changes that have an effect on your whole body, including your gums.
As you would expect, a number of bad habits can play a significant role in whether your gums recede or not. For example, individuals who find themselves clenching or grinding their teeth during periods of stress will have more to worry about than their blood pressure: They are also putting themselves at risk of receding gums! Smokers, whether it’s tobacco or marijuana, are also at risk; the more substances you smoke, the more in danger your gums are. In addition, body piercings, such as lip or tongue piercings, can also scratch against your teeth and wear down your enamel.
Lastly, some individuals are just unlucky in the genetic lottery, finding themselves more predisposed to receding gums than others. For example, if you’re born with crooked teeth or a misaligned bite, you guessed it: You’re more at risk of receding gums than those who are born with rows of perfect teeth.
How Do I Treat Receding Gums?
In the early stages of receding gums, there is no way to treat the disease and effectively have your gums grow back on their own: Once they’re gone, the gums are typically gone for good unless you undertake expensive surgery options. However, once you notice your gums are starting to recede, you can begin treatment to ensure the disease does not get worse. Your dentist can remove the plaque and bacteria that has found a new home in the pockets of your recessed gums, afterward smoothing the area to make it harder for new bacteria to grow in the same place.
For sufferers of advanced cases of recessed gums, you can undertake surgery to try to repair the damage. While these surgeries won’t completely fix the harm caused by recessed gums, they can reconstruct a portion of your gums to help prevent any further damage. In many cases, these operations are costly, so preventing receding gums is of the utmost importance.
How Can I Prevent Receding Gums?
With so many symptoms of receding gums, it can feel like no matter what you do, it’s likely that your gums will fail on you. However, don’t lose hope, as there are a number of things you can do to stave off receding gums!
The most important step towards preventing receding gums is to have the right kind of toothbrush. Dentists recommend an electric toothbrush, as these types of toothbrushes not only provide a thorough cleaning of your teeth and gums but also pack in features that emphasize healthy brushing habits. For example, many electric toothbrushes have a built-in two-minute timer to guarantee you don’t overbrush along with pressure sensors to ensure you don’t brush too aggressively. Some electric toothbrushes even alert you when it’s time to change the brush head, ensuring that you’ll always have a soft set of bristles in your mouth when it’s time to brush.
In addition to purchasing an electric toothbrush, adopting healthy habits will go a long way towards helping your gums stay in perfect condition. Quitting smoking, eating a well-balanced diet and seeing your dentist on a regular basis will ensure that don’t need to worry about recessed gums in the near future. However, even if you do everything possible to prevent recessed gums, you’ll still want to check your gums and teeth at least once a week just to stay on top of any changes.
Four Of The Best Electric Toothbrushes That Help People With Receding Gums
Now that you’re an expert on the subject of receding gums, it’s time to start protecting yourself against them. Below is a list of four of the best electric toothbrushes to help protect against receding gums, with each one offering exclusive features to ensure your gums remain in excellent condition.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive electric toothbrush that comes packed with features, then you’ll love the Sterline Sonic ST-OR-T50 Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush. At a whopping 31,000 strokes-per-minute, this electric toothbrush removes all traces of leftover food, plaque, stains and even yellowing from your teeth. Individuals who are struggling with receding gums will love the three power modes this electric toothbrush provides, especially the Soft Mode. This cleaning mode provides the normal strength of an electric toothbrush but with less pressure, ensuring that you don’t damage your gums while you brush your teeth.
The two built-in timers guarantee that you don’t brush longer than the recommended two minutes; one timer will automatically shut the toothbrush off after two minutes, the other timer will shut it off after 30 seconds. If you’re short on bathroom space, then the compact design of the Sterline Sonic ST-OR-T50 Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush is an ideal choice for your crowded counter. The thin frame and small base will let you store this toothbrush in even the tightest of spots.
Using proprietary sonic technology to gently clean both your teeth and gums, the Philips Sonicare Essence Sonic Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush is an ideal electric toothbrush to help prevent or minimize receding gums. Philips claims that this electric toothbrush removes twice as much plaque as your standard toothbrush, which is also a vital step towards preventing receding gums. While the Philips Sonicare Essence Sonic Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush sports other standard features, such as a two-minute timer, where it truly stands out is in its battery life: Philips claims this toothbrush can last two weeks between charges. The Philips Sonicare Essence Sonic Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush’s brush head will start to fade when it’s time to replace it, which will help ensure that you’re always using a clean brush head.
One of the leading causes of receding gums is brushing too hard, and the Oral-B Pro 1000 Power Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush helps prevent that with its built-in pressure sensor. This pressure sensor will alert you when you’re brushing too vigorously, which is your cue to take it down a notch: Your gums will thank you later! Oral-B boasts that this toothbrush removes up to 300 percent more plaque on the gumline than the competition, letting you rest assured that receding gums aren’t something you need to worry about as long as you use this toothbrush. For the rest of your mouth, the Oral-B Pro 1000 Power Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush uses a proprietary 3D Cleaning Action system both rotates and pulsates to break down even the most hardened plaque on your teeth.
If money is no object and you want the best electric toothbrush on the market, then you’ll want the Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean Rechargeable Toothbrush. This electric toothbrush dominates the competition, removing up to 10 times as much plaque as any other toothbrush. Philips also boasts that the Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean Rechargeable Toothbrush improves the health of your gums in only two weeks while whitening your teeth in only one week. With five brushing modes and multiple heads, including specialized heads for teeth whitening and plaque removal, it’s easy to see why this toothbrush is the best in its league. However, there is a catch: The Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean Rechargeable Toothbrush is one of the most expensive toothbrushes on the market today, costing anywhere from $150 to $200!