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Causes of Gum Recession and How to Prevent It

Receding gums is a common dental issue, but it is an important one. When gums recede, the roots of your teeth can be exposed, and that can make them more vulnerable to cavities. 

Recession can also be painful, and that can lead to sensitive teeth and more difficulty brushing. In some situations, the supporting tissue and bone structures can be weakened or damaged due to the recession, and this can lead to tooth loss.

There are many causes of gum recession. Understanding these causes can help prevent recession and improve your overall gum health.

Aggressive Tooth Brushing

While, obviously, brushing your teeth is good for your dental hygiene, it is possible to brush too roughly. Your gums and the enamel on your teeth can be damaged or worn away by aggressive brushing. 

If you frequently brush your teeth very hard or the wrong way, this can lead to gum recession. Talking to a dental professional can help you learn the best way to brush safely and effectively.

Teeth Grinding and Clenching

If you frequently clench your jaw or grind your teeth, this could put additional force on your teeth, and that can cause your gums to recede.

Soft Tissue Trauma

You can injure your gums (as well as your tongue, cheeks, and other soft tissue in your mouth) in many ways. Body jewelry (such as lip or tongue piercings) and orthodontic treatments can potentially hurt your gums, as can accidents, contact sports, or even biting down on something hard. If your gums are injured, they could start to recede.


The use of tobacco products can result in a build-up of plaque on your teeth. This can lead to gum disease, and gum disease can lead to recession. Smoking can also introduce chemicals into your mouth that can damage your gums and cause them to recede.

Poor Oral Hygiene

There are many ways that having poor or insufficient oral hygiene can lead to receding gums. If you don’t properly brush, floss, and rinse regularly, this can lead to the development of tartar. Tartar occurs when plaque hardens on and between your teeth. It can only be removed with a professional dental cleaning. The presence of tartar can also lead to gum recession.

Gum disease can also cause recession. Plaque can cause gum disease which can inflame your gums and lead to several oral health issues, including gum recession.


While some instances of gum recession are caused by factors that you can control, some are simply genetic. A certain percentage of the population is genetically predisposed to thin gum tissue or receding gums. If this is your situation, it’s important to take special care of your gums. Following the advice of a dental professional can help you understand what steps you can take.

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity or other signs of recession, there are gum treatment options available. While gum tissue does not grow back, there are ways to prevent your recession from worsening.

We work to help our patients improve their oral health, reduce pain and other potential issues, and create beautiful smiles. We can help you learn how to properly care for receding gums and provide you with details on the available treatment options as well.

To talk to our team or book an appointment, please call us at 416-296-1080 or contact us online. We can help you understand the state of your dental health, provide you with the care you need, and give you tips for how you can keep your teeth, gums, and mouth looking and feeling their best. 

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