What Causes Gum Recession?

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Natural Occurrence Over Time

As we age, gum recession occurs naturally due to decreased collagen production. Collagen gives the tissue its thickness and elasticity. With less collagen, gums become thinner and recede, exposing more tooth structure. This explains why teenagers rarely have a recession – their collagen levels are still high. But by ages 50-60, some degree of gum shrinkage affects most adults to varying degrees. Still, proper home care can minimise recession despite maturation.

Traumatic Brushing and Diet

Aggressive brushing with excessive horizontal pressure can traumatise the gums, pushing them away from the teeth over time. Similarly, habits like chewing tobacco or abrasive foods wear away the gums. Even certain toothpastes, like charcoal and baking soda, are overly abrasive for gum tissue. We at Pitt St Dental Centre advise our patients to use a soft-bristled brush and gentle motions, along with non-irritating pastes, to avoid causing a physical recession.

Crooked Teeth Move Gums

When teeth become crowded or shift out of position over time, the roots move closer to the surface, displacing gums outward. This explains why those with orthodontic relapse often have gum recession – lack of retainer wear allows teeth to drift, pulling gums back. Crooked teeth or misaligned bites also cause gums to recede. Proper orthodontics is key.

Causes of Gum Recession In Sydney, Pitt Street Dental Centre
Hormonal Shifts During Life Stages

Hormonal fluctuations during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause increase gum sensitivity for many women. The tissue becomes irritated more readily. Monthly menstrual cycles also impact gum inflammation. We advise our patients at Pitt St Dental Centre that excellent dental hygiene is essential during hormonal phases to avoid aggravating gums. Mood, diet, and inflammation are all tied together.

Gum Disease Detaches Gums

Periodontal disease destroys connective fibres and bone-attaching gums to teeth. With this attachment loss, gums detach and recede. Preventing and treating gum disease halts this progression. Similarly, gums damaged by bite trauma recede over time. Again, daily plaque removal and regular professional cleanings protect your gum health and minimise recession.

Catching Orthodontic Issues Early

We advise adults who wore braces as teenagers to be evaluated for signs of relapse. Allowing teeth to drift uncorrected progresses recession over decades. Early orthodontic intervention or retention can guide teeth back into proper position before gums recede extensively. Routine exams help detect minor alignment issues before they worsen.

Planning Around Life Stages

Since hormones fluctuate before and during pregnancy, we recommend optimising home hygiene and completing needed dentistry beforehand if possible. The same applies before major menopausal changes arise. Preventive care during volatile periods preserves gum health through fluctuations. We can time treatment plans around anticipated hormonal events.

Restoring Receded Gums When Needed

If gum recession is causing pain or aesthetic concerns, various procedures can restore coverage. Gum grafting utilises your palate tissue to rebuild thin areas. In some cases, we combine grafting with pinhole surgery for quicker results in one appointment. This restores lost gum volume and protection.

Ongoing Individualised Prevention

Regular professional cleanings allow us to monitor your gums closely for any signs of receding areas. I then tailor your personalised home regimen – brushing method, tools, and pastes – to gently protect vulnerable zones. Consistent prevention is key, along with reviewing habits like diet, smoking, and medications.

Caring for Your Complete Health

Our team at Pitt St Dental Centre views your oral health as an integral part of total wellness. We want to understand lifestyle factors that may influence gum inflammation and recession. Our goal is to get to know you fully so we can provide individualised education for proactive self-care. We care about your whole being, not just teeth and gums!


The content has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. Pitt Street Dental Centre does not make any representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of the content.

The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional personal diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a dental or medical condition. Never disregard professional advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read or seen on the Site.

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