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Can Receding Gums Be Reversed?

Happy woman with a white smile sitting outside

Preventative care is one of the most important measures that we can take in order to maintain our healthy teeth and a white smile. Without brushing, flossing, or rinsing with mouthwash our smiles can quickly fall to disrepair leading to a number of health complications such as gum disease, teeth falling out, bleeding or swollen gums, and more. Some effects, however, take long periods of time before their full effects can be seen such as with gum recession. Gum recession is a form of gum disease that causes gum tissue to pull away from the teeth causing a tooth to appear larger and if left untreated it may lead to roots becoming exposed.

What causes gum recession?

A receding gum line can be caused by several factors including:

  • Gum disease
  • Brushing too aggressively
  • Tobacco use
  • Tartar buildup
  • Dry mouth
  • Clenching and grinding

When gums begin to recede it creates pockets between the tooth and the gum that makes it easy for bacteria to enter which can cause more extreme forms of periodontal disease. In these instances it is possible for the roots to become exposed which may cause them to become more susceptible to decay and they may even loosen and possibly fall out. As the gum line recedes more it becomes possible for gum disease to start to lose the bone and jaw which can create severe oral health complications.

How long do gums take to recede?

The process of a receding gum line is an incredibly gradual process making it difficult to detect when it first starts. Because it is slow, It may be several years before the effects of gum recession can be noticed putting those who are affected at greater risk of tooth decay.

How to spot gum recession

Because sometimes gum recession is a slow process it is important to keep an eye out for the symptoms that may help you to take action proactively. Some of the most common symptoms that are associated with gum recession include:

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums when brushing
  • Sensitivity when flossing
  • Pain or discomfort along your gum line

You may also start to notice that your teeth are becoming looser or more ‘wiggly’ which is a sign that gums are pulling back.

Slow, often unnoticeable changes like gum recession are one of the reasons why twice annual dental checkups are so your oral care routine. A proper dental cleaning can remove any tartar buildup that may contribute to a receding gumline which can’t normally be cleaned with a toothbrush.

Can gum recession be reversed naturally?

Unfortunately gum recession cannot be reversed naturally over time. Taking proper care of your teeth after your gums have receded will not cause them to naturally grow back to their original positions. Once the tissue is lost it is gone forever. As a result, preventative dental care is the most important way to protect against gum recession. Regular dental visits, flossing, & regular brushing all contribute to fighting against gum disease which prevents gum recession. In addition, it is important that when you brush you do not brush too hard. If you are unsure about how hard or softly to brush your teeth, or are concerned about gum recession, speak to your oral hygienist. They will be happy to explain the best method and tips for brushing properly to avoid any dental complications.

Treatments for gum recession

If you have been experiencing mild or severe gum recession, there are several options available to help preserve the integrity of your teeth and improve your smile.

Gum Graft

A gum graft is a common oral surgery procedure in which a dentist will take gum tissue from one area of your mouth to replace missing gum tissue in another. A gum graft is typically performed when the root of a tooth is exposed in order to cover it up and protect the tooth.

Root scaling & planing

Root planing & scaling is typically performed for mild gum recession. When a pocket is created due to gum recession it is easy for bacteria to get trapped inside and cause infection. Root scaling is the process in which your dentist removes plaque and tartar in a deep cleaning around the tooth to disinfect any bacteria that may have grown beneath the gum line and inside the pocket due to gum recession.  After root scaling your dentist will perform root planing which is when they smooth your tooth's roots in order to allow the gums to reattach to the tooth and close up the pocket that has been created.


In certain situations when the gums have receded, dental bonding or tooth colored material can be used to cover exposed root service.


Gum recession can also happen because of clenching and/or grinding. The pressure caused by the clenching and/or grinding can damage the bone which leads to the gums receding.

Worried about gum recession?

If you are concerned about gum recession, call your dental team and schedule an appointment to have your teeth examined. Your dentist can discuss with you the health of your teeth and diagnose any problems that may arise. The best way to protect against gum recession is through preventative care and scheduling your routine visits is an important part of that oral care process. Call or contact your nearest location today to schedule an appointment.


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