Gingival recession, more commonly known as receding gums, is a progressive process that happens gradually over the years. Because the changes are so slight from day to day, it's not usually until the age of 40 onward that a person starts to notice the symptoms of gum recession. This condition, however, may occur as early as one's teen years.
The most common cause for gum recession is plaque, bacteria that builds up film on the teeth. Regular brushing is required to improve receding gums, because it stimulates blood flow. Extra blood flow washes away toxins produced by bacteria. You should brush before going to bed and upon waking up, and if possible, brush after each time you eat. Using the right kind of toothbrush is also important.
Avoid brushing your teeth too aggressively. The recommended technique is to brush across all surfaces of the teeth using gentle, circular motions. It is important to also brush along the gum line, as gingivitis occurs when bacteria gets underneath the gum line. Using a soft-bristle toothbrush with a small head is usually best. Motorised toothbrushes are also preferable, because they have smaller heads and controlled motions.
Regular flossing is even more important than regular brushing; only flossing can remove the plaque that becomes embedded between the teeth and under the gums. Floss at each brushing, which ideally should be after each time you eat.
Finally, massaging the gums improves circulation and contributes to gum health. To massage, place your thumb and your forefinger inside either side of the mouth to hold your gums. Then rub lightly all over.
Natural Methods to Improve Receding Gums
Rinsing with essential oils such as clove, peppermint, and sage on a regular basis are a good way to control bacteria that can cause receding gums. Add a few drops of the oil to your mouthwash and rinse for 60 seconds.
You can also rinse your mouth with a one-to-one solution of hydrogen peroxide and water. This helps rid your mouth of bacteria. Rinse for 30 seconds. Do this no more than three times a week.
You can also rub your gum line with a paste of baking soda and water. Work a small section at a time, then rinse. This will remove bacteria and stimulate your gums to improve the appearance of a receding gum line.
Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic technique that is reputed to reverse receding gums and even to regrow gum tissue. The procedure entails taking one tablespoon of virgin coconut oil or sesame oil, swishing it around your mouth, sucking the oil and "pulling" it through the teeth repeatedly for 10 to 20 minutes until the oil becomes thin and white. Then the oil should be spit out and the mouth rinsed with water to ensure that all the bacteria is removed from the mouth, teeth and gums. Perform this procedure up to three times a day to speed up the healing of receding gums. It is advisable to do the procedure prior to meals on an empty stomach.
Chewing raw fruit and vegetables, which are loaded with vitamins and minerals, exercises teeth and gums and may also be helpful in improving a receding gum line. Choose fruit and veggies rich in vitamin C and carotene.
Eat cranberries and cashews; these have anti-adhesion properties. Eating fresh ginger also neutralises mouth acid and can help heal and prevent gum disease.
You can also take supplements that have calcium, Ginkgo biloba (for blood circulation), zinc (for immune strength), vitamin C and coenzyme Q10 (gives increased energy for cell renewal).
Resist eating sweets, sodas and sugary drinks. Sugar tends to weaken teeth and feed bacteria. You should avoid processed foods, white flour based products, caffeine and alcohol.
There are dental procedures that can be undertaken for serious gingival recession. If an incorrect bite is the cause, a bite adjustment or bite splint may solve the problem. Braces can be installed by an orthodontist to address misaligned teeth. If severe tartar is the issue, scaling and root planing may be needed. Gum grafts can also be done to replace missing or receded gum tissue.