Why do gums recede? Is it only because of gum disease?


The short answer is “no!”

Gum recession (where the gum pulls or shrinks away from the neck of the tooth/ teeth) can affect otherwise entirely healthy teeth and gum foundations.

It might be an indicator of gum disease, but recession is not a disease in itself.

Gum recession can happen:

  • If your teeth are mis-aligned and the gum covering them is thin
  • If you naturally have a fragile gum thickness (a little like when some people have thin skin)
  • If you have brushed very vigorously (look out for this on your left side if you are right-handed and vice versa!). We recommend an electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor
  • If you are a smoker, as the blood supply to your teeth is reduced
  • If you wear jewellery in your mouth (e.g. a lip piercing causing 24/7 friction)

However, if you have gum inflammation (such as gingivitis), your gums will be at higher risk of receding. And if you have gum disease which has caused bone to be lost around your teeth whilst it has progressed, expect the gum to recede even when the condition resolves.

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