Receding gum lines is a common dental condition that can sneak up on you over time; it isn't always immediately visible because it tends to happen slowly, and it doesn't start to cause any pain or discomfort until it's already progressed for months or even years. If you're worried your gums are receding, you can help stop the problem by making sure your dental hygiene is up to par and that you're alleviating pressure on your teeth.
Floss Teeth and Gums
Flossing is an inconvenient part of taking care of your teeth, and also commonly done incorrectly. When you floss, pull the floss against either side of your teeth, not down towards your gums; this will only push food particles down farther. Only move back and forth to adjust the position of the floss; otherwise, hold the floss against your teeth and slide up and down. This makes sure any food particles are pulled out to the side, not simply moved back and forth. Finally, make sure you're flossing underneath your gums. They may bleed a little to start, but this is normal—if you floss regularly, they will become stronger. Making sure your gums are also cleaned will greatly help prevent further receding.
Use Proper Brushing Methods
Brushing technique is equally important, as it will scrub away plaque and make sure fluoride gets between your teeth, but it must be done correctly to be effective. Rather than brushing back and forth, vary the angles at which you brush; this will help you reach more areas and will clean your gums as well. Make sure you also brush your gums themselves. Brushing up and down can help the bristles clean under your gums rather than just the surface. Also take care to use a soft brush, and to brush gently. Brushing hard aggravate your gums and scrape away at the dentin on your teeth.
Use a Night Guard
A night guard can protect your teeth and gums from the effects of grinding, which can speed up gum disease. It may be hard to tell if you grind your teeth, but look for signs of wear on your teeth, or ask someone who sleeps in the same room as you to keep an eye out. If you suspect this may be a problem, purchase a night guard.
Use an Oral Irrigator
An alternative to flossing is using an oral irrigator, which is a tool that uses pulsating water rather than string to clean between your teeth. This is a good option if you have sensitive gums, or feel squeamish about using string under your gums. These irrigators come with a variety of pressure settings, which can help bleeding gums; if you start on a low setting and work your way higher, you can make your gums stronger. Many also come with multiple tips, so you can choose what will work best for you.
To learn more about how to take care of your gums, contact a local dentist.