What Causes Gum Recession?

What Causes Gum Recession?

Model image of gum recession in a human jaw



What are the gums?

The gums, or gingiva, is thick pink tissue that surrounds the base of the tooth. The gums are attached to the jawbone and when intact the gums cover the neck and root of the tooth. It is bound to the bone and the root surface of the tooth by strong fibers and ligaments. The gum tissue acts as an agent to protect the bone bacteria that can cause infections and inflammation that destroys this bone. 

What Does Receding Gums Mean?

Gum recession, or gingival recession, is when the protective gum tissue surrounding the teeth starts to wear away and lowers its resting position on the tooth. Gum recession is harmful to the tooth because it leaves the tooth exposed to food debris leaving it vulnerable to tooth decay.

 Causes of Gum Wear:

There are several factors that could be contributing to a receding gum line. Some are inherited and some may be physical reasons:


  • Periodontal diseases: Periodontal (gum) disease is caused by an infection from the bacteria that live in the plaque in between your teeth. Gum disease causes destruction to the bones and gum tissues that anchor your teeth. This weakens the gums ability to hold onto your teeth. As time goes on this can cause serious causes of recession


  • Aggressive- Brushing & Flossing: If you are brushing or flossing your teeth with too aggressive of force or if you are using a toothbrush that has too hard of bristles, you can physically cause the weakening of your gums. We recommend using a soft-bristle toothbrush and to be cautious of how much pressure you are applying when brushing or flossing.


  • Poor Dental Hygiene: Though over-brushing can physically cause the receding of gums, neglecting to brush or floss your teeth can also lead to gum recession. Slacking in your daily dental hygiene practices can cause plaque to build up and to turn into tartar. Tartar is a hard substance that discolors the teeth and can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning. 


  • Clenching or Grinding Teeth: These habits put a lot of pressure on your teeth which can result in the receding of gums 
  • Position of the Teeth: When teeth overcrowd each other or do not align, gums are left more vulnerable & too much pressure can be placed on the gums or bones.
  • Genetics: Unfortunately, weak or thin gums can be passed through your family genes. It’s important to be aware of your family history to take extra good care of your gums.


  • Smoking & Tobacco Usage: Those who smoke and use tobacco products increase their risk of receding gums. 


  • Lip & Tongue Piercings: Piercings on the lip or tongue have direct contact with the gums, the act of jewelry rubbing & irritating the gums can cause gum recession. 

The Dangers & Health Risks Of A Receding Gum Line

When gum recessions occur, the root of the tooth becomes exposed to tooth decay and other serious problems. The root of a tooth does not have a layer of enamel to protect it. Enamel is a thin layer that protects the tooth from discoloration and the bacteria that causes tooth decay. In addition to this, gums play a vital role in keeping your teeth stabilized. Receding gum lines can also increase the risk of tooth loss, which ultimately affects the surrounding teeth as well. Healthy gums are essential for a healthy mouth. Receding gums are not only a problem cosmetically but they lead to a lot of problems if left untreated.


Depending on how your condition is diagnosed there are a variety of ways to get treated. Here at Delaware Periodontics, Dr. Bradford Klassman performs The Chao Pinhole® Surgical Technique (PST®), invented and patented by John Chao, D.D.S., is a scalpel-free, suture-free procedure for treating gum recession.

 Contact Your Local Dover, De Periodontics Today!

Conveniently located in the greater Wilmington and Dover area, and easily accessible to surrounding areas. Delaware Periodontics offers quality treatments in periodontics and dental implantology. Our office is welcoming and relaxing, with convenient hours of operation and a friendly office environment.

Please contact us at (302) 658-7871 if you would like to schedule an appointment and find out more about the Pinhole® Surgical Technique!