Receding gums are generally associated with aging, and dentists assert that a certain amount of receding is expected with age. But you can slow down the process and keep your gums healthy for longer. Receding gums can be painful. They can expose dental nerves, making you sensitive to hot and cold foods, brushing, and even using a toothpick. Touching the exposed nerve can be like receiving an electric shock.
Causes of Receding Gums
Gums require calcium, vitamins, and amino acids to remain healthy and vital. Actually, it’s not the gums themselves that require the calcium, but the bone into which your teeth and gums are set. This bone will lose its strength and even recede if exposed to regular bacteria and food particles around the gum line. When the bone recedes, the gums worsen and eventually recede as well.
In addition, a diet of soft foods and/or lack of brushing or flossing can cause the gums to atrophy and make them recede over time. Excessive or violent brushing can also be a cause, as can any prolonged irritation to the gums, including tobacco use (from smoking or especially chewing) or grinding of the teeth. Certain drugs are also known to deteriorate the bone and gums in your mouth over time. These drugs also tend to cause dryness of the mouth.
But the single worst thing for your teeth, gums, and bones is drinking sodas. Cola and most other sodas contain phosphoric acid—the same acid used in tile and bathroom cleansers and by dentists to etch away tooth enamel prior to placing fillings. They literally eat away at your enamel and bone.
The treatment for receding gums focuses primarily on increasing calcium in your diet, but you can also try some lifestyle and supplement therapies. Here is a quick hit on the essentials:
- Floss regularly.
- Increase calcium in your diet and with natural herbs and supplements, including horsetail herb.
- Increase omega fatty acids and vitamin C in your diet.
- Avoid sodas, or at least brush your teeth after drinking them.
- Rinse your mouth regularly with salt water or hydrogen peroxide.