There are many contributing factors to gum recession, and some unfortunately include genetics. Some people simply have fragile gums or don’t have enough jaw bone covering the front of the roots of their teeth to support gums up to the crowns. The good news is that many of the other contributing factors can be controlled, and even if you’re predisposed to gum recession, there are ways to minimize it.
Chronic teeth-grinding, or bruxism, causes a whole host of problems for your oral health, and one of them is increasing your risk for gum recession. All that grinding puts too much pressure on the gums, so they begin to recede. Bruxism can be a difficult habit to break, especially if you’re doing it in your sleep, but you can minimize the damage to the jaw bones, gums, and teeth by using a mouth guard.
It might sound counterintuitive, but you can brush your teeth too much, or at least, too hard. Brushing teeth isn’t like scrubbing the grime out of tile grout; gums are not built to withstand the abrasive rubbing of hard-bristled brushes (and neither is the enamel on our teeth). Soft bristles are ideal for scrubbing away plaque and massaging the gums without damaging them. The same principle applies to flossing; you should floss once a day, but please go easy on the gums.
When plaque isn’t removed by brushing and flossing, it will eventually harden into tartar, which can only be removed by dental professionals. This means that the longer you go without a routine dental cleaning, the more tartar builds up along your gum lines, which puts you at risk for gum disease.