Understanding Gum Recession, It’s Causes and Treatment Options

However well you look after your teeth, there is a good chance you will be affected by receding gums sooner or later. The condition affects about 40 percent of people in their 30s, 70 percent of people in their 50s and 90 percent of people in their 80s. 


Overall, about half the population is living with gum recession. Let’s find out what causes it, what are the consequences and what can be done about it. 


Common Causes of Receding Gums


From the statistics above, you might think gum recession is a natural part of ageing, like wrinkled skin or greying hair. It is true that some people have a genetic propensity to gum recession, and for them, it is likely to come about no matter what. But the most significant causes come down to dental hygiene habits and lifestyle choices, so we are far from helpless!

In fact, the number one cause of receding gums is poor dental hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss every day, along with regular checkups and visits to the hygienist, you set yourself up for excessive plaque buildup. This can lead to gum disease, damaging gum tissue and resulting in gum recession.

Smoking is another significant factor, as it causes increased plaque formation and simultaneously reduces blood supply to the gums, thereby attacking from two angles to cause receding gums.

Other contributory factors include hormonal imbalance, bruxism, and oral piercings, which can irritate the gums and cause wear.

Close up image of a man with receding gums, of lower set of teeth.

Common Symptoms of Receding Gums


  • Noticeably shrinking gums around the base of your teeth
  • Gums that have become inflamed
  • Loosened teeth
  • Consistently suffering from bad breath
  • Enhanced sensitivity to hot or cold drinks
  • When brushing or losing your teeth are bleeding.

Treatments for Receding Gums 


There are different treatments available for receding gums. Catch the problem early, and it can be quickly addressed with great results and minimal intervention from the dentist. 


Mild gum recession can be halted; however, recession cannot be reversed. Through better brushing techniques that are gentle on the gums whilst still removing food particles and tartar. 


However, in more severe cases, the dentist might look at several different options that are available:

  • Scaling and root planing are some of the most common treatments for gum recession. The dentist removes the plaque and tartar from below the gum line. It might also be necessary to take a course of antibiotics to kill off any remaining bacteria.
  • Desensitising agents can be applied to ease the sensitivity of the exposed tooth root.
  • Restoration involves the application of a tooth-coloured resin over the exposed root.
  • Veneers can sometimes be used to cover areas of missing gum tissue.
  • In the most severe cases of gum recession, tissue can be grafted from elsewhere in the mouth onto the receded gum to regenerate tissue formation.

Prevention is Better Than Cure


Gum recession is far easier to manage and cure when it is in the early stages. Following a good oral hygiene routine and having regular checkups are the most effective ways to keep gum recession at bay. 


Also, be vigilant and look out for any changes, such as sudden sensitivity or inflammation. Book a consultation to have any such irregularities checked without delay. 


Have Your Gums Started to Recede? Speak To a Dentist Today – Call (09) 600 2774

Common Questions in Relation to Receding Gums

Can I Fix Receding Gums?
At What Age Do Gums Start Receding?
Should I Brush Receding Gums?
Can Certain Foods Tighten Receding Gums?