Receding gums occur when the margin of your gum tissue surrounding the teeth begin to pull back or wear away, exposing more of your teeth or even the root of a tooth. Unfortunately, gum recession can cause gaps to form between your gum line and teeth, which can result in bacterial infections. Without gum recession treatment, the bone structures and supporting tissues of your teeth may be damaged, resulting in tooth loss.
When it comes to receding gums, both you and your dentist can work together to remedy your gums. Professional treatment, as well as using essential oils, can help treat receding gums effectively.
The Causes and Symptoms of Receding Gums
Causes of Receding Gums
Since gum recession occurs slowly over time, many people don’t even realize what’s happening until their gums have receded noticeably. There are a number of different causes of receding gums, such as:
- Poor dental hygiene – Inadequate brushing and flossing can lead to plaque buildup and tartar. This type of buildup can cause gingivitis and receding gums.
- Improper tooth brushing – Overly aggressive tooth brushing or brushing teeth in the wrong way may wear away the enamel on your teeth, which may cause the gums to recede.
- Gum disease or periodontal disease – The most common cause of receding gums is gum disease, which may begin as gingivitis and progress into the serious stages of periodontal disease. Gum disease causes infection under the gums, and it can destroy not only gum tissue but also the supporting bone that keeps teeth in place. Approximately three out of four adults have some type of gum disease, increasing their risk of receding gums.
- Use of tobacco products – It is no secret that tobacco products are bad for your dental health. Using tobacco products can weaken your immune system, making it tougher for your body to fight off gum infections. If you already have periodontal disease and receding gums, smoking will increase and prolong the damage to your gums. According to the CDC, smokers have twice the risk of gum disease, and the longer they smoke, the higher that risk becomes.
- Genetics – Just like with many other health conditions, it’s believed that certain people are genetically predisposed to gum recession. In fact, nearly 30% of the population may have a predisposition to gum disease. For these individuals, preventive measures are especially important.
- Clenching and grinding your teeth – Clenching and grinding your teeth, a condition known bruxism, puts extreme force on your teeth, which may cause enamel to weaken and for your gums to recede.
- Lack of vitamin C – Vitamin C deficiency can cause poor oral health, including receding gums.
- Lip or tongue piercings – Tongue and lip piercing jewelry can continuously rub against oral tissues, like your gums. This can not only cause cracked or chipped teeth, but also receding gums.
- Hormonal changes – Some medications, like birth control, can affect hormones in your body that also affect your gum health. High amounts of progesterone, for example, can cause swollen gums, gum irritation, and even gingivitis.
Symptoms of Receding Gums
The first step to treating receding gums is recognizing when they begin to recede. Gum disease is the most common cause of gum recession, and when left untreated it’s been associated with a higher risk of health problems like obesity, heart attack, preterm labor, diabetes, and stroke. Here are the common symptoms of receding gums:
- Tooth sensitivity
- The appearance of longer teeth
- Red, swollen gums
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing
- Loosening teeth
- Pain at the gum line
How Your Dentist Can Help
If your gums are starting to recede, don’t ignore it. Like tooth enamel, once your gum tissue begins to recede it can’t grow back. This is why treating receding gums, and stopping their recession as fast as you can, is important. Gum recession has the potential to lead to tooth loss, so it’s essential to discuss your receding gums with your dentist. There are two common solutions your dentist can offer you to treat receding gums include:
- Periodontal Cleanings– Deep cleanings called periodontal cleanings are more invasive and effect than typical bi-annual dental cleanings. Periodontal cleanings involve scaling and root planning and involve scraping off the tartar on teeth both above and below your gum line. Dentists may also use lasers to help eliminate tartar from your teeth.
- Gingival Graft– In cases where deep cleaning and periodontal maintenance isn’t a good treatment option due to excessive loss of bone, your dentist may recommend a gum surgery known as a gingival graft. This procedure repairs the damage that’s been caused by gum recession. A gingival graft works to revive your gum tissue or the bone tissue holding your teeth. It involves placing a piece of tissue or synthetic tissue to enable your gums to grow back.
Essential Oils as a Remedy for Receding Gums
Once you talk to your dentist about dental treatments that can be performed at your dentist’s office for your gums, you might want to consider what you can do at home on your own. If you’re looking for natural remedies for receding gums, many people have found success with essential oils. Using essential oils to support gum health has been done for centuries, and is a holistic approach to dentistry that used in combination with professional dental care, can stop your gums from receding and improve your overall oral health.
Why Essential Oils are Effective
There’s a lot of science to back up the use of essential oils for dental health and other holistic dentistry methods, like oil pulling. In fact, oil pulling with coconut oil or sesame oil has been shown to help prevent oral disease, cavities, and even bad breath, which can be linked to other diseases like heart disease. Many essential oils have healing, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties, which makes them effective at treating gum recession and other oral health problems. Here is a list of essential oils that can improve the health of your gums:
- Frankincense – Frankincense essential oil has antiseptic properties that make it a natural solution to fighting the bacteria in the mouth that can cause plaque, tooth decay, and bad breath while supporting healthy gums.
- Sage – Sage oil has strong antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties that destroy and prevents the growth of bacteria in our mouths. This essential oil also accelerates wound healing and prevents swollen and bleeding gums.
- Lemon – Lemon oil can help prevent receding gums and tooth decay by fighting bacteria. This oil also has properties known to stimulate tissue formation and can support healthy gums.
- Yarrow – Yarrow essential oil is known as an anti-inflammatory oil that can help reduce inflammation of the gums that is often a symptom of receding gums.
- Tea tree – Tea tree oil is antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral and can help keep damaged, inflamed gums from getting infected.
- Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus oil is an anti-inflammatory germicide that helps soothe receding gums and helps stimulate the growth of new gum tissue.
- Peppermint – Peppermint oil’s antiseptic and antibacterial properties can help prevent disease-causing bacteria from infected susceptible gums.
- Clove – Clove oil is known as a disinfectant oil, and has long been used to treat many oral diseases. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties in clove oil can help fight infections from periodontal disease.
How to Apply Essential Oils to Treat Receding Gums
If you’re not sure how to use essential oils to help remedy your receding gums, you should know there are many different application methods. You can use essential oils by themselves, or combine different oils to create a blend that will work for you and your dental health needs.
- Oil Pulling – One way to use essential oils to address receding gums is to try oil pulling. This Ayurvedic technique combines a carrier oil, like coconut oil or cold-pressed sesame oil, with a few drops of essential oils. After mixing, swish well for 10-15 minutes, then spit. Oil pull daily to support healthy gums and oral tissues.
- Make Your Own DIY Essential Oil Toothpaste – Essential oils can be added to other ingredients to create your own essential oil ‘toothpaste’ to use twice a day. If you aren’t up to a DIY task, we have a list of essential green products that includes toothpaste.
- DIY Mouth Rinse – Create your own mouth rinse and add a few drops of essential oils with water. Vigorously swish the rinse in your mouth after brushing. Just like regular mouthwash, be careful not to swallow the rinse.
- Direct Application – Some oils, like clove oil, can be massaged directly onto your gums. However, certain oils like eucalyptus oil should always be diluted with a carrier oil before you apply them to the soft tissues of your gums.
When it comes to your oral health, taking measures to prevent receding gums is the obvious choice. Receding gums that are not treated can lead to serious dental issues, like periodontal disease and even tooth loss. However, if you do begin to notice that your gums are receding, take time to talk to your dentist about the problem. They will recommend in-office procedures in order to treat your gums and get your oral health up to speed. You should also consider using natural, holistic methods, like essential oils, in conjunction with these procedures to attack the gum recession fully.
Serving the North Raleigh area for 18 years, VP Dental is dedicated to treating each patient as an individual and focuses on total body health. The team stays current using the very latest in dental technology, wellness practices, and concierge dental care practices. Our goal is to create relationships that make people look and feel their best.