Anything from stress to poor nutrition to your body's natural hormonal changes can affect the health of your gums, and healthy gums are a must for healthy teeth. If you notice receding gums, experience swelling in the gums or have a heightened sensitivity to temperature, you might be experiencing gum disease. Fortunately, preventative measures can keep gums from receding farther and advances in dental technology can repair lost tissue.
Take note of any abnormalities in your gums and teeth. Plaque under the gum line can give way to infection, which causes the gum tissue to swell and gradually break down and recede. If your gums are swollen or discolored, they are probably receding.
Prevent further gum recession by brushing and flossing at least twice a day. Regular flossing is even more necessary to preventing gum disease than brushing is, because plaque that is embedded between the teeth and under the gums can only be removed with floss.
Brush and floss as often as you eat and avoid eating when you don't have the opportunity to brush immediately afterwards. Take a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss with you when you're going to work or going out to eat.
Use the right kind of toothbrush. Avoid using a toothbrush that is too large or has hard bristles, and don't brush too aggressively. Use a small-headed brush with soft bristles used in circular motions across all surfaces of the teeth. You may even want to choose a motorized toothbrush, as these come with smaller heads and have controlled brushing motions.
Avoid acidic foods and drinks such as citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, pineapple and carbonated beverages. Too much of the acid contained in these foods can aggravate sensitive teeth and cause additional damage over time.
Clean your teeth immediately before going to bed and as soon as you get up in the morning. Plaque has an especially good opportunity to develop overnight and infect your gums.
Consult your dentist about surgical procedures and non-surgical alternatives to treat gum disease and correct receding gums. Gum tissue can even be grafted onto the gum to replace lost tissue, but only your dentist can tell you what options are right for you.