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Gum recession is a gum condition that causes the margin of the gum tissue that surrounds your teeth, wear or push away, exposing the roots of your teeth. They form gaps or pockets between your teeth and gum line, causing a bacteria build-up in the area.

If you leave gum recession untreated, it will further damage your supporting tissue and the bone structure of your teeth, resulting in tooth loss.

Older adults are more prone to this condition. A study was conducted with 10,000 people, which concluded that receding gums increased with age. In the study, about 38% of people from age 30-39 had receding gums. It rose to 71% for people between 50-59 and 90% for 80-89. Women were seen at much lower rates, but by the age of 40, the rates were almost the same.

The study also noted that gum recession got more severe with age. From age 30-39, about 10% of the people had a recession of 4mm, but it increased to 24% by the age of 50-59.

Why Do Gums Recede?

Several factors cause your gums to recede. Here is a list of a few of them:

1- Genetics

Some dental issues are out of your control. Few people are prone to receding gums because of their genes. Some researches show that about 30% of the population is genetically vulnerable to several gum problems even after maintaining proper oral hygiene.

So if you are an adult with healthy gums but your parents or grandparents are suffering from gum problems, keep a close check on your gum health.


2- Periodontal Diseases

Periodontal diseases are the biggest reason behind gum recession. These are bacterial gum infections that cause the supporting bone and tissue around a tooth to weaken and destroy completely. This causes an inflammatory reaction.

3- Improper Oral Hygiene

Taking care of your oral health is essential—good oral hygiene filters out the possibilities of any gum infections.

Improper brushing, not flossing regularly, and not rinsing your mouth with a good mouthwash turns plaque into tartar. Tartar is a hard substance that builds between your teeth and can be removed only through dental cleaning.

4- Crooked Teeth

Crooked teeth are a condition where your teeth do not come out evenly. When your teeth are not aligned properly, it drops more pressure on your gums and teeth whenever you bite down, causing your gums to recede.

5- Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding or clenching, also known as bruxism, leads to the wearing down of your teeth. This strips down the enamel of your teeth, leading to tooth decay and gum recession.

6- Agressive Brushing Technique

Although brushing your teeth twice daily is recommended, correctly brushing them is also important. Ditch aggressive brushing techniques, like brushing too hard or in the wrong manner, as it will wear off your teeth’ enamel and cause the gums to recede.

7- Using Tobacco

Tobacco users and smokers lie at a high risk of receding gums and other dental problems. This is because tobacco cause plaque, a sticky substance, to harden into tartar that causes gum recession.

8- Hormonal

Due to various hormonal changes, women are more susceptible to gum recession. Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause are the most dramatic hormonal fluctuations in a woman’s life. Gums are more sensitive during these stages. Hence, there’s a recession in gums.

How Is Gum Recession Treated?

Once your gums have receded, you won’t grow them back, but you can, however, prevent them from receding more. Few dental procedures might help you in this case. Consult your dental professional to seek help.

A dental professional will treat the early signs of gum recession through deep cleaning like root planning and scaling. In this procedure, they clean the bacteria formed in the pockets between your gums and teeth, giving your gums a chance to heal.

Getting your teeth straightened is also an excellent option to treat the problem of gum recession. Crooked teeth are subject to irregular force injuring your gums. They are harder to clean and increase the chances of gum infections.


Receding gums is a common issue noted by people even though they have maintained great oral hygiene. Factors like age, genetics, and hormones also play a role in this, and these factors are not in your hands to control.

While growing back your gums is not an option; however, its treatment can be done. Treating gum recession slows down the process and can also prevent your gums from further receding.

You need to consult your dentist regarding these problems so that they can provide you with the most suitable treatment option available.

Written by Dr. Satish Pai

Dr. Satish Pai is an orthodontist and Ivy League trained dentist who has served as a faculty at Columbia University. He believes a perfect smile not only makes a person look great but feel great. As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics and a Partner at Rome Orthodontics, he is dedicated to providing the best orthodontic treatments to his patients. He also writes to educate people about everything orthodontics and the importance of correctly aligned teeth along with good oral health. In his free time, you can find him golfing, doing yoga or surfing, and spending time with this family.

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