Four Tips For Avoiding This Common Dental Issue

If you’ve ever struggled with gum disease, you’re far from alone.

According to the Canadian Dental Association, this issue is one of the most common dental concerns in the country. Around seven in 10 patients develop gum disease at some point in their lives.

However, you may not be aware that this common condition can result in long-term damage to your gums. If left unchecked, early problems like inflammation and bleeding can give way to receding gums.

Though it’s possible to visit a dentist for receding gums treatment, it’s better to prevent the issue from happening in the first place. Fortunately, there are plenty of steps you can take to protect your oral health.

Here’s what you should know.

How Do Receding Gums Happen?

Before we dive into our tips on preventing gum recession, let’s cover a few basics.

As the name suggests, gum recession happens when your gums begin to pull away from your teeth.

If the gums pull back far enough, this can expose the sensitive roots of your teeth. In some cases, the gums’ tight grip on your teeth can weaken, causing loose adult teeth.

This doesn’t happen all at once. Rather, it occurs over time due to poor oral health.

Because gum recession is a form of gum disease, you might notice early symptoms like inflammation, tenderness, and tooth sensitivity. Things like inadequate dental care and aggressive brushing are common culprits when it comes to receding gums.

However, other factors like tobacco use, teeth grinding, misaligned bites, and even genetic predisposition can also play a role. It’s important to note that your gum tissue will never grow back once it’s gone. However, you can take steps to prevent the issue from getting worse, and it is possible to treat receding gums with help from a dentist.

Procedures like dental bonding or gum grafting surgery can help cover exposed teeth roots and protect your oral health.

Let’s take a look at a few key prevention techniques worth trying.

1. Address Bruxism

If you tend to grind your teeth or clench your jaw, either while you’re awake or asleep, you have a habit known as bruxism.

You can likely guess why bruxism is bad for your teeth—after all, regular clenching puts pressure on the chewing surfaces, causing worn or cracked teeth—but why does it affect your gums?

The sensitive tissue of your gums can become more tender and even inflamed with repetitive clenching. The constant pressure and motion can push your gums back over time, exposing the delicate structure of your tooth root.

2. Remove Piercings

Tongue and lip piercings can be a trendy fashion statement, but many patients aren’t aware that they can also have a huge impact on your oral health.

Lip piercings, in particular, can wreak havoc on your gums. One study even found that gingival recession was common in 68% of participants with lip piercings compared to 4% of participants without them!

Because these piercings can rub against your gum tissue, it’s easy to see why your gums might recede. Tongue piercings are also associated with gum recession, though the connection might not be obvious at first. Though the piercing isn’t near the gums, the soft surface of your tongue moves throughout your mouth as you speak, eat, and drink every day.

Pair that with a hard piercing, and the repeated irritation can affect your gum tissue.

If you’re on the fence about removing your piercing, keep in mind that piercings can impact more than just your gums. Chipped or cracked teeth and damaged fillings are not uncommon, and patients with piercings also have an increased risk of tooth decay if the piercing isn’t cared for properly.

3. Stop Smoking

Tobacco products have been connected with poor oral health for decades. Staining, faster tartar buildup, bad breath, and even a receding jawbone can be common in frequent smokers.

However, tobacco products can increase your risk for gum recession as well. Because tobacco lowers your levels of saliva—which helps remove bacteria and plaque from your teeth and gums—it can lead to inflammation and gum disease.

Worse, smoking decreases the amount of blood flowing to your gums, which means they may not get the nutrients they need to stay healthy or to heal from existing gum disease.

4. Brush Properly, Brush Gently

Last, but not least, aggressive brushing habits can be a contributing factor to gum recession.

Over-brushing can lead to what’s known as “toothbrush abrasion,” meaning that the repetitive scrubbing abrades the surface of your gums. This scrubbing can cause them to pull back over time. If you suspect that you’ve been brushing too hard, there are several things you can do to adjust your habit.

We advise patients to use a soft toothbrush, which is less likely to irritate the gums.

There are several different brushing techniques worth trying, including making gentle circular motions or up-and-down motions over your teeth.

We recommend the Modified Bass technique, meaning that you’ll hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to allow the bristles to point toward your gum line. From there, you’ll brush back and forth with gentle pressure.

Make sure to brush for around two minutes. If you still feel you’re using too much pressure, try switching to your non-dominant hand to decrease the force on your teeth.


Once you begin to see your gums pulling away from your teeth, it’s already too late to do receding gums treatment on your own.

Protecting your oral health through proper brushing, as well as taking steps to prevent the issues we’ve discussed above, can help you avoid this form of gum disease.

In addition to maintaining good oral hygiene, visiting a dentist regularly can help you keep receding gums at bay.

Expert cleanings can help you avoid the issues that lead to gum disease, and they also give your dentist a chance to catch any red flags before they snowball into larger problems.

Ready to protect your oral health? Contact us today with questions or to request an appointment.