Gingival or gum tissue recession is the moving away of the gums and the bones from the teeth. It refers to the exposure in the roots of the teeth. It is a common problem in adults but it might also occur in teens. Receding gums is a progressive procedure that happens step by step. It mostly occurs in adults because the changes in the conditions of the gums day after day. Receding gums may remain unnoticed until the conditions cause other problems. Receding gums may be caused by over brushing of the teeth. over brushing causes corrosion of the gum line due to the harsh motions and movements caused by the pressure of the brush, jaw imbalances as well as hot and spicy food may also lead to recession. Also, the accumulation of bacteria due to poor oral hygiene leads to bone and enamel break down. Vitamin deficiencies may also lead to gum recession. Therefore, it is recommended that nutritional supplements be taken often. Surgical and restorative procedures can also result in gum recession and exposure of the root. There is also some speculation that gum recession is a natural sequence of aging.

The signs and symptoms of gum recession are:

ü  Sensitive teeth to hot, cold, sweet, sour and spicy food. If the cementum is unprotected by the gums it can easily be abraded thus it exposes the tubules of the dentin to external stimuli.

ü  A longer part of the crown is visible making the teeth appear longer than usual.

ü  The roots of the teeth are exposed

ü   The color of the tooth changes. This is because there is a difference in color between the enamel and the cementum.

ü  The gums bleed while brushing or flossing

ü  Bad breath

ü  Caries below the gum line

ü  Inflammation and irritation of the gum area.

ü  Severe discomfort.

There is no cure for gingival regression apart from surgery which could be unsuitable for most patients. It is usually advisable to prevent the occurrence of gingival recession by practicing good oral hygiene every day. One should see a dentist at twice a year (after six months), brush the teeth at least twice daily and floss once a day. It is important to use the appropriate brushing techniques and the correct type of toothbrush.

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