Receding Gums – What Could Be Causing It?

Receding Gums – What Could Be Causing It?

In accordance with the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial health, the health and condition of the mouth is a direct representation of the overall health of a person. It can also act as an early indicator of any disease or health issue.

Typically, the oral cavity is filled with bacteria that include both beneficial and harmful bacteria that are responsible for gum diseases, cavities, bad breath, and oral infections.

Such oral health issues can be effectively avoided by taking care of the mouth on a daily basis. One of the fundamental practices needed for a better dental health as well as for avoiding any health issues is brushing at least twice a day.

Other ways that can boost dental health and keep diseases and potential diseases away include flossing, using mouthwashes, and oil pulling.

Additionally, practicing good oral hygiene can also prevent other prevalent problems that can also cause social embarrassment at times including bad breath and receding gums both of which are often the signs of an infection or disease.

Receding gums might be one of the most visible and dramatic out of all the symptoms of gum disease or considerably poor dental health. The build-up of bacteria-containing plague around the teeth and gums causes inflammation so severe that it ends up destroying the gums.

The result of such perpetual attacks on the gums is what pulls them away from the teeth that gradually expose the roots and lead to the development of spots for further bacteria growth.

However, a lesser known fact about inflammation and bacteria in the mouth along with receding gums is that they can be an indicator of much bigger problems.

According to Mayo clinic, gum destruction and abnormal accumulation of bacteria in the mouth is often a sign of neck and head cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, endocarditis, premature birth, and cardiovascular diseases.

Receding Gums - What Could Be Causing It?
Image By Reader’s Digest

What Are Receding Gums?

Receding gums or pulled off gums are usually associated with periodontal health conditions of the gums in the oral cavity. Gum diseases target both the visible soft tissue in the mouth and the bone that holds the teeth in their places.

The gradual development of the infection in the mouth is what pulls the teeth away and creates space that is used by the bacteria for further division. Receding gums are usually a sign of the worsening of the disease.

As the infection progress, the body and the immune system of the person trying to fight back to protect the oral health. In doing so, the bones and connective tissues that hold the teeth in their places start to deteriorate and end up completely breaking down.

The end result of the fight is typically the complete loss of soft tissues, connective tissues, teeth, gums, and the bones but this only happens when the affected person receives no professional treatment for the disease.

What Are The Signs Of Receding Gums?

The only thing which makes gum diseases and health conditions is that majority of the people having them are not even aware of it. The early symptoms of any potential gum infection are little and easy to ignore.

The signs that appear at the very first include tender spots in the mouth, and seeing a little amount of blood while brushing at times. Most of the other signs that can catch a person’s attention are only visible when the disease progresses.

The signs of receding gums and gum infections include:

  • Swollen gums
  • Pain or discomfort while chewing
  • Darkening in the color of gums
  • Bad breath (which does not go away even after using a mouthwash or even brushing)
  • Teeth that seem to be longer than the others in the mouth
  • Bleeding in the gums while brushing, chewing, eating, and flossing
  • Loosening of teeth
  • Teeth that can be moved upon touching or eating
  • An increase of sensitivity in the teeth (especially to hot or cold drinks)

What Can Cause Receding Gums?

The most common thing that contributes to tooth decay, cavities, higher risk of gum infections or diseases, receding gums, and overall bad oral health is poor dental hygiene. A good routine for the teeth and gums can greatly lower the chances of any oral problems.

However, a number of other conditions can potentially lead to receding gums as well as other dental issues including:


Diabetes is one of the most complicated and dangerous diseases in the world for a reason. Not only it itself is a deadly disease but also comes with a lot of other severe effects on the health. People suffering from this health condition automatically have a higher risk of infections.

Periodontal diseases actually are among the common effects of diabetes. In light of the recent research on the issue, diabetes and oral problems have a direct relationship and both of them worsen each other.

Infections in diabetics are hard to control and get rid of. On the other hand, infections also make it harder to control blood-glucose levels in the blood and may even increase it.

This is the reason why diabetics are suggested to practice good oral hygiene more than others.

Hormonal Changes

Women from almost all of the age groups have noticed that their gums become much more sensitive and tender whenever there is a change in hormonal levels in their bodies.

This can include girls who have just started their menstrual cycle and are entering puberty to women who are near menopause. Other cases that affect the hormonal levels in the body are taking medications such as birth control pills or pregnancy.

Two of the main hormones that have the biggest role in oral issues and receding gums are progesterone and estrogen where the increase in the former is the one that causes dental issues in women who are having or about to have their menopause.

As a result, discomfort in the gums, decreased saliva or dry mouth syndrome, infections, and receding gums are among the common complaints of the women having menopause.

Vitamin C Deficiency

Vitamin C deficiency can disrupt a lot of the body’s function. Oral health issues, bleeding and receding and swollen gums are often the most visible signs of a vitamin C deficiency.


People having the deadly disease of HIV/AIDS are automatically more prone to infections which are also harder to fight off once they develop for them as the ability of the body to safeguard itself is considerably limited.


Receding gums and the higher risk of having oral diseases and health conditions can also be genetic like many other health conditions in accordance with the latest studies. The only way to avoid getting them is prevention and good dental health in this case.


The most popular medicines that are linked to gum problems and diseases are birth control pills. Although many people do not know, there are a number of other medications which can have the same effect.

Drugs that can affect the gums and may lead to issues include antidepressants, many of the oral contraceptives, and heart medicines.


Smoking is generally known as dangerous to the health of a person as if can affect the immunity greatly. People who smoke tend to have a weaker immune system than those who do not which means the fighting or keeping infections away is harder for them.

Consequently, they have a comparatively higher chance of getting periodontal diseases and infections. People who already have gum issues and smoke can face difficulties in getting rid of the infection or disease.


Bruxism or teeth grinding is one of the leading causes of gum receding in the United States which also increases the risk of getting periodontal diseases.

A person having receding gums because of bruxism needs to address his/her issues along with getting the treatment for the gum disease.









Andrea White

As a graduate of Public Health and Policy, Andrea developed an interest in disease development, food and safety and the latest advancements in health. She is a Freelance writer who had affiliations with multiple blogs. Andrea is now pursuing her post-doctorate in Behavioral Sciences.

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