How To Reverse Gum Loss?

reverse gum loss

Gum loss can result in sensitive and painful teeth, many find it aesthetically unappealing and tooth loss can be a concern. If like many people around the world you have lost gum tissue you may be asking how can you reverse gum loss.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to reverse gum loss without surgical intervention. However, you can prevent it from getting worse.

This post will explain what caused the damage and destruction of the gum tissue to detail the best way to prevent further loss and how to repair gum loss. 

What Do Normal Healthy Gums Look Like

Healthy gums, are firm, stippled and usually look coral pink (in Caucasians) but deposits of melanin can make the gum tissue appear darker in African-Americans and those with darker skin.

3-12mm of gum tissue is attached to the soft tissues and tooth. Above this attached gingiva (the dental word for gum tissue) there is 1-3mm that forms a collar around the tooth. 

What is Gum Loss and What are the Consequences

When our gums are unhealthy there can be the destruction of the bone surrounding the tooth and the gum tissue shrinks back exposing the roots of our teeth. There is less than the normal 3-12mm of gum attached to the tooth and pockets that are greater than 3mm develop. The teeth get longer. 

Whilst in the majority of cases bone destruction results in this gum recession in some cases medicines or aggressive brushing can cause gum loss as well. 

The loss of gum tissue can result in 

  • Increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks or sugary and sour treats.
  • Infection and decay of the tooth roots 
  • Long teeth with gaps, may not look as aesthetically pleasing to the eye as some would like
  • Wobbly teeth that are at risk of falling out

What Causes Gum Loss?

In the majority of cases, the cause of gum loss is a build-up of bacteria that irritates the gums causing them to become red, swollen and inflamed. This is called gingivitis, it’s an early stage of gum disease

Gingivitis is reversible but if not treated quickly it can cause periodontitis, an advanced form of gum disease to develop. In periodontitis, it’s not just the gums that are affected, there is also the destruction of the alveolar bone that surrounds the tooth socket and irritation of the soft tissues surrounding the tooth. 

As bone loss occurs, the gum tissue shrinks back and it looks as though we have lost gum tissue. 

What Causes The Build-Up Of Bacteria?

The build-up of harmful bacteria occurs due to poor oral hygiene. 

It’s normal to have bacteria in the mouth, along the gum line and on the teeth. The bacteria is present in a sticky film called a biofilm. When we don’t remove this biofilm each day it builds up into an accumulation referred to as plaque. 

The plaque needs to be removed twice daily so that 

  • it doesn’t turn into tartar that prevents the gum from adhering to the teeth
  • enzymes and other substances the bacteria produce don’t irritate the gums 
  • the destruction of bone by immune cells trying to remove the bacterial invasion is prevented

Other Risk Factors

In addition to poor oral hygiene, several things can increase your chances of developing gum disease and thus gum loss. These risk factors are 

Can You Grow Your Gums Back?

A question people often ask when they realise that they have lost gum tissue is whether there is any way of stimulating the gums to grow back. After all, the liver can regenerate itself, can’t it? 

It’s a good question. Scientists in labs are trying to develop techniques and drugs which stimulate the gums to regenerate themselves. But these techniques are not ready for the dental clinic.

Sadly there is no way to get the gums to grow back naturally. 

But, the good news is that there are ways to prevent gum loss from getting worse or happening in other areas of the mouth.  Also, dentists can replace lost tissue with grafting techniques.

The Best Way to Reverse Gum Loss

The best way to reverse gum loss is to ensure you practise oral hygiene that’s first-class. Using the correct technique will ensure you remove all the plaque without wearing away your gum tissue. 

Good Oral Hygiene Is Key

Developing and maintaining good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent gum loss. To achieve this

  • Brush twice daily with a soft small-headed brush 
  • Use fluoride toothpaste – this protects your teeth from cavities and the fluoride is also good in the prevention of gum disease
  • Clean the interdental spaces with a gum pocket brush, interdental brushes, floss or water flossers.  
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Top Tips

Why not a hard brush? Hard and medium toothbrushes have been shown to cause damage to the gum tissue and wear it away. A soft brush effectively removes plaque without damaging the tissue. 

Don’t press on too hard – If you aggressively clean your teeth you can damage the tissue. Many electric toothbrushes have sensors that detect if you are pressing too hard. 

Use a manual or an electric toothbrush – it doesn’t matter which kind you use as long as you use the correct technique. Take a look at the manufacturer’s instructions if you use an electric toothbrush. If you use a manual toothbrush this post has some information about the correct techniques to use. 

Dental Treatments To Cure Gum Loss

If you have severe loss of gum tissue that’s causing sensitivity and pain, or you’re not happy with the way your gums and teeth look. There are several advanced dental treatments available to heal gum disease at home

Gum Grafts

This procedure is a relatively simple and quick dental surgery where new tissue is grafted to the existing gum tissue to replace that which has been lost. 

A periodontist takes healthy gum tissue roof of the mouth or excess gum that surrounds other teeth and stitches it into place covering the area that’s missing tissue. 

If you have advanced periodontitis and there has been significant bone destruction you may need a bone graft as well. 

Clear Composite Resin

Clear composite resin can be used to cover exposed roots at the back of the mouth when gum grafts are not suitable.

The dentist will start by roughening the surface of the tooth and applying a conditioning liquid. Next, the resin is applied, moulded and smoothed into shape. A special light is then used to harden the material. 

Pinhole Rejuvenation Surgery

This minimally invasive procedure can be used to ‘nudge’ existing gum tissue to cover the area with missing gum tissue. It is quicker and less invasive that gum grafts. 

Guided Tissue Regeneration

In some cases, tissue-stimulating proteins, called bioactive gels can be used to encourage your body’s natural ability to regenerate bone and tissue.

Gum Disease Treatments Before Gum Tissue Restored

You need to develop good oral hygiene and treat periodontitis (may include professional gum health treatments and surgical procedures) before any advanced treatments can take place.

Do You Need Help at Home to Help Reverse Gum Loss?

As we have mentioned above the key to reversing gum loss and preventing it from happening elsewhere in your mouth is good oral hygiene with twice-daily brushing and careful cleaning of the interdental spaces.

Knowledge is power where beating gum disease is concerned. Gum Disease: Solved online education tool arms you with the information to understand why you have gum disease and how you can beat it in only 10 minutes per day at home, without the need for costly and ineffective dental visits.

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Written by Sharon Fyles

Periodontitis Expert & Writer

Sharon Fyles, BSc (Hons, SW), MSc, Dip,  is a Manchester-based expert dental writer specialising in periodontal diseases and their treatment.


Medically Reviewed and Verified by Dr. Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons), MFDS (RCPS Glasgow)

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