From the desk of Charlotte dentist Dr. Van Gurp:
Gum recession occurs when the margin of the gum that surrounds the teeth pulls away from the tooth exposing the tooth root. This is typically a gradual process which can lead to tooth sensitivity, the increased likelihood of cavities in the root of the tooth and even loose teeth.
It is important to realize that if the gum around a tooth is receding, the underlying bone which supports the tooth or holds it in place is also receding making for a weaker foundation. As for why recession occurs and how to slow or even halt its progression, there are three main things I focus on in my dental office.
First, gum disease. Gum disease is an infection that destroys the gum tissue and underlying bone that support and hold your teeth in place. On your end, that means daily diligent brushing and flossing of your teeth. If you thoroughly clean your teeth on a daily basis, you remove the plaque which is the culprit in causing gum and bone destruction.
Second, how you brush your teeth. Do not believe that the harder you brush, the better. By brushing too hard, you can create significant damage to your teeth and gums. Proper technique in brushing is key here. If you are using a manual tooth brush, be sure it is a soft bristled tooth brush. Soft bristles are important. In fact, I even recommend warming the bristles under warm water prior to brushing so that the bristles are even softer.