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8 Causes of Gum Recession

8 Causes of Gum Recession

Your teeth rely on your gums to keep them firmly in place, so if the gums recede, your teeth become loose and may eventually fall out. Gum recession also creates gaps between your teeth and gums, which is a gathering place for bacteria to build up and cause infections and disease. 

Gum recession is a pretty common problem. Almost half of the adult population age 30 and older suffers from periodontal disease, which is one of the main culprits behind gum recession. That number jumps to over 70% after age 65. 

At St. Tammany Periodontics & Implants in Covington and Slidell, Louisiana, we want to see those statistics drop dramatically, so we help by arming our patients with education and preventive care that enables them to avoid receding gums. 

Dr. Caesar Sweidan, DDS, our board-certified periodontist, is offering a closer look at the causes of gum recession so you can do your best to avoid it. 

What causes gums to recede?

Receding gums can lead to serious oral health problems, so knowing the underlying causes is the first step in preventing it. Unfortunately, some of the culprits are beyond your control. Here are eight of the most common reasons gums shrink back.


Some people are just born with gums that are prone to recede. Even if you take good care of your teeth and gums, you may deal with receding gums if they run in your family.

Overzealous brushing

When you wash a dirty skillet, it makes sense that the harder you scrub, the cleaner your pan will be. But the same doesn’t hold true for your teeth. In fact, aggressive brushing damages the enamel on your teeth and wears away your gum tissue.

Mouth trauma

Aggressive tooth brushing is a type of trauma that can cause gum recession, but other types of trauma can lead to shrinking gums, too. If you take a blow to the mouth or fall and hit your face, it may cause your teeth to become loose or malpositioned. 

Studies show that injuries of this kind leave you more susceptible to gum recession. 

Periodontal disease

The early stage of gum disease, gingivitis, leads to red, swollen gums, and if you ignore it, it can progress to periodontitis, a more advanced form of gum disease that involves bacterial buildup, inflammation, infection, and gum tissue damage, including recession.


Orthodontic therapy in the form of braces, spreaders, and invisible aligners is an excellent way to straighten your teeth and improve your oral health. But the constant force that repositions your teeth, can lead to gum inflammation and recession.

High frenal attachment

The muscles that move your lips and cheeks are attached to your gums at a couple locations in your mouth. The membranes that attach them are called frena. If yours are attached too high, every move your mouth makes tugs and pulls at your gums, causing recession over time. 

Teeth grinding

If you grind your teeth, the force can irritate and damage your gums until they begin to pull away from your teeth. This condition, called bruxism, often occurs at night, and many people who have it aren’t aware of the problem. 

Receding gums may be your first warning sign, along with headaches and worn teeth.

Poor dental hygiene

If you don’t brush and floss daily, the bacteria on your teeth turn to plaque, a sticky substance that covers your teeth. If you leave it there, plaque turns into calculus or tartar, a hard substance that’s much more difficult to remove. 

When tartar works its way under your gums, it separates them from your teeth, and your gums begin to recede.

Stop your receding gums

To stop gum recession, you need to act quickly and come see us at St. Tammany Periodontics & Implants right away. The sooner we begin to treat your receding gums, the better your chances of saving them from further damage.

If your gums have already receded significantly, we may need to perform a gum graft to replace the lost tissue and restore the integrity of your gums and teeth. 

Don’t let gum recession ruin your oral health. Schedule an appointment with our specialist today by calling our friendly staff.

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