Receding Gums: What’s The Cause & How To Treat It

Receding Gums What’s The Cause & How To Treat It

When your teeth are healthy, the gum tissue fits around them in a snug like manner. However, with poor dental health, your gums may start receding. Receding gums can be painful and scary, mainly because it can interfere with your smile and overall health. However, you need not worry since there is an array of dental treatments that can help prevent, treat and stop its progression.

What Are Receding Gums?

Receding gums, also known as gingival recession, is a condition where the margin gum’s tissues surrounding your teeth wear away or get pulled back, exposing more of the tooth structure or tooth’s root.

Gum recession takes place gradually, making it difficult for people to realise that they have it. Once the gum recedes, it leaves a gap between the gum and tooth exposing it to disease-causing bacteria. If not treated on time, the surrounding tissue and bone structure of your teeth can get damaged and may even result in tooth loss.

Fortunately, modern oral hygiene and dentistry have made receding gum treatment less complicated than what it was in the past even for older adults. Preventing and treating gingival recession is now easier.

Related Article: How Often Should You See A Dentist As An Adult?

Signs & Symptoms Of Receding Gums

Sensitive teeth

Tooth sensitivity occurs as a result of exposed roots. Once your teeth roots are exposed, they tend to become extremely sensitive and uncomfortable.

Long teeth

When your gums recede, your teeth may appear much longer than normal.

Loose teeth

When receding gums worsen, they result in deeper gum pockets due to the loss of the attachment structure loosening the teeth.

Color change

Your tooth crown and exposed root may have different shades.

Inflamed gums

Redness and swelling of your gums, especially along the margins, may be a sign of receding gums.

Risk Factors That Increase the Probability of Receding Gums


This is among the most prominent risk factors associated with receding gum. Smoking breaks down the enamel on your teeth and dries your mouth out. The lack of enamel and saliva creates the perfect environment for bacteria due to plaque and tartar that severely damages your teeth and gums. This leads to gum disease, gum recession and in severe cases, cancer. Additionally, smoking may lower your chances of successful treatment.


People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing infections such as gum disease. For instance, periodontal disease is a common complication of diabetes. Hence, it is crucial for people with diabetes to practice good oral hygiene to reduce the risk of receding gums among other dental conditions.

Hormonal changes in girls and women

Women’s hormone levels tend to fluctuate during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. These changes can make the gums more sensitive and susceptible to dental health issues like receding gums.

Vitamin C deficiency

vitamin c is good for receding gums

A deficiency in Vitamin C leads to poor oral health like bleeding, swollen, inflamed teeth or receding gums.

Genetic susceptibility

Just like other parts of your body, the genes passed down from your parents can affect your dental health. This means that if your family has a history of gum disease, you could also be at risk of getting it.


Due to a weakened immune system, individuals with HIV/AIDS are at a significantly higher risk of receding gums.

Misaligned or crooked teeth

Misaligned or crooked teeth can trap plaque more easily and can also be more difficult to clean efficiently during brushing. This can lead to tartar formation followed by gum recession.

Aggressive tooth brushing

Brushing teeth too hard can cause your enamel to wear away, which would, in turn, lead to gum recession.

Lip or tongue piercing

The jewellery you put on your tongue or lip can rub your gums and irritate them, causing your gum tissue to wear away.


Some medication can cause chronic dry mouth. If the medicines are taken over an extended period, they can cause bad breath, and lower your saliva levels. The lack of saliva, which protects teeth, dental

implants, dentures, and gums, allows bacteria to destroy your gum tissues.

What are the Dental Treatment Options for Receding Gums?

Receding gum treatment varies greatly, depending on the severity of your gum disease. The first step in treating receding gums is to determine what factors are contributing to the recession so that they can be minimized and if possible, eliminated.

For instance, if crooked teeth are causing your receding gums, your dentist may have them straightened, if they are as a result of smoking, the use of tobacco can be reduced or eliminated and better dental hygiene methods incorporated.

Here are some of the most effective forms of receding gum treatment:

Deep Cleaning

Most often, receding gums are as a result of a significant amount of bacteria in the mouth known as plaque, tartar or calculus. Deep cleaning removes the plaques and tartar that your gums are receding away from.

Related Article: 8 Benefits Of A Regular Dental Check Up

Antimicrobial/antibacterial mouthwashes

Your dentist may prescribe certain gels and mouthwashes to reduce or kill the bacteria that is causing receding gums.

Oral antibiotics

Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics to fight off the infection.

Flap Surgery

Flap surgery may be necessary if the infection and deep pockets persist even after deep cleaning and medication. A dentist or a periodontist may perform this surgical procedure to remove tartar and plaque deposits in deep pockets or reduce the pocket depth to make it easier for the dentist, patient, and hygienist to keep the area clean.

Bone and Tissue Regeneration

If your gum recession has advanced to the extent of affecting the bone supporting your teeth or dental implants, a regeneration procedure may be done. During this process, your dentist will fold back the gum tissue to remove the built-up bacteria. After that, a regenerative organ such as graft tissue, membrane or a stimulating protein may be applied to stimulate bone and tissue growth. The gum tissue will then be restored back to its original position over the root.

Soft tissue graft

If the receding gums result in exposed roots, your dentist may need to perform a soft tissue graft. This procedure involves making a small incision in the roof of your mouth to remove a tissue beneath the flap.

The extracted tissue will then be stitched to the gums surrounding the exposed root, allowing it to grow back.

Have You Tried Our Free e-Consultation Service?

If you are worried about a dental related issue, interested in travelling to Malta for a dental holiday or have questions about any of the treatments we offer, please contact us using our new free e-Consultation service. One of our highly-qualified team will respond to your query as soon as possible. Our e-Consultation service is live 9am – 6pm Monday to Friday.

If you would like to schedule an in-person consultation at Savina Dental, please book your appointment using this form.

Savina Clinic – Dental & Implantology Centres are friendly, state-of-the-art practices in Malta and Gozo dedicated to comprehensive quality dental care. Savina Dental is an innovative dental practice in Malta and prides itself on the high-quality customer service, low waiting room times, attention to detail and the advanced dental technology at their disposal.

Dr Joseph Xuereb
Dental & Implant Surgeon. Principal
Savina Dental Clinics

Joseph Xuereb
Joseph Xuereb
Principal Dental Surgeon & Owner of Savina Dental Clinics, Dr Joseph Xuereb BChD (Hons), MFGDP(UK), MGDS RCS(Eng), FFGDP RCS(UK), FICD is a general dental practitioner with a special interest in Implant and Restorative Dentistry. Dr Joseph & the teams' full biographical information can be found here.
  • "I just wanted to thank you for the dental treatment I received at your clinic on the afternoon of…" (Graham Consterdine)
    "Absolutely delighted with the results and the price was less than originally quoted.Friendly and…" (George Chapman)
    "Prior to the commencement 3 years ago I had visited dentists less than 10 times in the previous 60…" (Kenneth Page)
    "Was carried out over a number of visits from UK as clinical need arose. Absolutely no pain. Mr…" (Jennifer Page)
    "Save and sound back in the UK after my treatment at your clinic. Just a brief note of thanks…" (Joan Gabbitus)
    "Teeth feel as my own. Evening meals a delight. Grazzi hafna. Dave Dyke." (David Dyke)
    "Dear Joseph, I am still smiling and my family are very impressed. Things are progressing much as…" (Margaret Peacock)
    "Dear Dr Joseph, Just wanted to thank you for my lovely new teeth. Wonderful to be able to eat…" (Hugh Burns)
    ""i would like to say how scared i was of dentists until savina clinic my teeth were in very bad…" (Val Dick)
    ""Dr Xuereb, or Joseph as he likes to be called offered me excellent treatment and customer service…" (J Pulling)
    ""My partner and I had very succesful dental treatments in May 2009, having found Savina Clinic on…" (Michael Cleere)
    "I was extremely happy and satisfied with my treatment. The staff were extremely friendly, the…" (Francesca Smyth)
    "I am very happy with my experience in Malta. The staff is very friendly and would recommend the…" (Jim O'Mahony)
    "I have been using dentists for over 50 years, and Dr. Xuereb is one of the best that I have ever…" (Thomas P Leckinger)
    "I am very pleased with the Zoom Bleaching. My teeth went from between shade 6/7 to shade 2 in less…" (Andrea Fichera)
    "I am very pleased with Savina clinic and the prices they gave me on email are respected. The staff…" (Caroline Demay)
    "Hi Marlene, Everything is fine with me, I am very happy with the treatment I received and…" (Eileen Lee)
    "Hi Marlene, Hope you are all keeping well. My 2 ceramic veneers are great and I am very happy…" (Tara Cronogue)
    "First of all I please allow me to thank you and all your staff for giving me the courage and…" (Patrick Fenech)
    "Dear Dr Xuereb, We arrived home yesterday from Zurich and all is well here. Spring is in vibrant…" (Elaine Fothergill)
    "Dear Dr. Xuereb Thank you so much for your reply of 22 August. Again, many thanks for your several…" (Clotilde Mifsud)
    "Dr. Xuereb I continue to walk around grinning like a Cheshire cat - thank you very…" (Gerry Slater)
    "Hi Marlene, well back to rainy Ireland, I've had no problems with my crowns and fillings and…" (Nicola Moore)
    "We just thought we would send you a quick e-mail to say thank you very much for all the hard work…" (Caroline Wall)
    "Hi Joseph, Thank you so much for everything, can you please thank everyone at your practice…" (Emma Pisano)
    "Dear Joseph Many thanks for your note and your good wishes. The gum/tooth has improved…" (Carol Mellor)
    "Hello, Thanks for the below email. I would like to take this opportunity to say how pleased I…" (Alan Pratt)
    "Dear Joseph Having safely return to Ulster I wanted to express my thanks for the care and…" (Steven McBride)
    "Hi Jo Thanks for your e-mail around christmas time. We all had a great time all the families…" (Manya Bartick)
    "Hi dear Joe, I do hope you and Elsie had a really good trip to UK and Rome and that, in spite of…" (Liz Genton Eames)
    "Hi Dr., Back in Ireland and in work. Thank you for the work you have done for me so far. I…" (Teresa Igoe)
    "Thank you for you e-mail, we have just returned from Cyprus, had a fine time. The bridge and teeth…" (Alan McHale)
    "Dear Joseph, I am extremely well, and as before I am very,very happy with the work that you,…" (Donny Nisbet)
    "Hi Dr. Xuereb, Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. You always explained…" (Eleanor O'Byrne)
    "Dear Joe, Thank you for seeing David so promptly, and providing such wonderful treatment. Things…" (David Grainger)
    "Hello Joe Do you remember Caroline who came for 3 implants at the beginning of September this…" (Caroline Holden)
    "I had an emergency broken tooth and found Savina on I was somewhat nervous as I…" (Ken Gord)
    " Carol Mellor Facebook Xlendi Bay, Gozo - Appointment with my dentist…" (Carol Mellor)
    "Thank you once again Dr Xuereb for great fit of my teeth and it is wonderful to see a surgeon with…" (Maria Bonello)
    "Dear Marlene, I really appreciate your concern, thank you. I also found your missed calls - you…" (Josette Galea)
    "Dear Marlene I hope you are well. Thanks for your email and the x-ray attachments. I had a…" (Annette Moore)
    "Hi Dear Marlene and all, May I take this opportunity to give you my heartfelt thanks to all of…" (Tony Cassar)
    "very happy........with my new teeth!  Thanks Joseph and crew. Julie" (Julie Edwards)
    "Dear Joseph, It will come as little surprise to you that I am blown away by the completion of…" (Peter Drummond)
    "Hi Marlene, Had final adjustments to the bite today, only tried a xxxx peppermint.  Eating this…" (David Dyke)
    "Hi. I just wanted to thank you again for the treatment. I was particularly impressed that you…" (Chris Moffit)
    "Joseph, I just thought I'd drop you a quick email to say how pleased I am with the implants and…" (Peter Drummond)
    "Dear Dr Xuereb, I hope you are well. I just wanted to let you know that the implant itself…" (R. Fava)
    "Dear Dr Joseph, sorry for the delay in writing to thank you and everyone concerned re my recent…" (P.Jones)
    "Dear Dr Xuereb I would like to say thank you for your perseverance, patience and…" (E. Brown)
    "Thank you your practice is the best I've ever been to and the staff are brilliant as I'm so scared…" (S.Humphrey)
    "Good morning Joe and team.  Can't tell you how pleased I am with my new look which, I may add,…" (Jenni C.)
    "Dear Dr's Xuereb & Farrugia Having completed my implants in March/ July 2014, which have…" (Richings Mr/Mrs)
    "Dr. X and Marlene - We hope that you are well and wish everyone in the offices a Happy New…" (Michael Campbell)
    "To Dr Xuereb and Staff., Thank u Kindly for the Positive Support U gave me During My Treatment…" (Maria B)
    "Hello, I would like to thank you all for the perfect care I have received at your clinic and…" (Andrea K H)
    "Dear Dr Xuereb  Everything is absolutely fine and I am truly delighted with the result. Thank…" (Pamela C)
    "Hello Doctor Xuereb. Now we are back at home and we like to take the opportunity to say thank…" (A Kaun)
    "To: Dr. Joseph Xuereb  Good morning from Mellieha!  I have been meaning to write to you to…" (J.Saliba)
    "Hello Marlene, I should like to say how delighted I am with Dr Joseph Xuereb's treatment. It has…" (A.Mann)
    " My new implants are great!  No complaints.  My teeth feel natural and my eating time has…" (T.Murphy)
    "Hi Marlene, Firstly I really enjoyed Malta, especially the boat trip to Gozo.  The Maltese are…" (David E.)
    "Joseph, sincere and very many thanks for all your work today. Very professional reassuring and top…" (John S-S)
    "Friendly and professional service. I like the way I was treated as an intelligent and thinking…" (Josanne D.B.)
    "Just came out from Savina Clinic and was treated very good I recommend this clinic to the fullest.…" (Kylie F.)
    "Love how they explain every single process! Everything new & with latest technology" (Miguel G.)
    "Highly recommend!" (Alexandra M.B.)
    "Absolutely awesome service; They answered my emails, gave me neutral information what options I…" (Tatu O)
    "Good afternoon Dr.J.Xuereb  A VERY BIG THANK YOU for a wonderful competent treatment and for a…" (Terese S.)
    "Dear Joseph. Sincere thanks for your kind e mail. Hope you had a great break away ! It was my…" (John S.S.)
    ""Dear Joseph, Wonderful,  tried out on fresh roasted chicken...  Very pleased, as always…" (Dave D)