The Most Common Causes of Bad Gums

By John Rink DDS on May 14, 2017

A woman smiling at the dentist's officeThe team at our Charleston dental care center always stresses preventative care to our patients. While state-of-the-art restorative dentistry treatments can help repair damage to the teeth and gums, preventing these problems in the first place is always ideal.

With that in mind, we want to consider some of the most common causes of gum disease and gum recession. We'll also offer some insight into how you can prevent these common issues from causing major dental health woes.

Poor Oral Hygiene

If you don't take care of your teeth and gums, you're bound to suffer from cavities, tooth decay, and much worse. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day and to floss at least once a night. These will help keep your smile fresh and clean.

Aggressive Brushing and Flossing

Brushing and flossing too aggressively can potentially damage your gumline and lead to gum recession. When you're cleaning your teeth, be thorough but gentle. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. When you floss, avoiding snapping and sawing along your gumline.

Smoking and Chewing Tobacco

We all know that cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco can cause lung disease, heart disease, and different kinds of cancers. In addition, these tobacco products can also cause periodontal disease, gum recession, and oral cancer. Consider this yet another great reason to quit.

Use of Certain Medications

Drugs we get by prescription or over-the-counter are meant to help improve our health. Yet there are some medications that have serious side effects that impact the gums, resulting in dry mouth, sores, oral thrush, gum discoloration, and a higher risk of gum disease. Be sure to discuss all side effects with your doctor as well as tips for managing their potential health issues.

Tooth Grinding (Bruxism)

Tooth grinding is a condition in which people clench or shift their teeth at night. This can place a great deal of pressure on the teeth, causing chips and cracks, and also contributing to gum recession. Be sure to speak with your dentist if you suspect you suffer from teeth grinding.

Issues with Dental Alignment

Poor dental alignment can lead to excessive pressure exerted on your teeth. This can result in teeth grinding or in general problems with dental health that result in gum recession. Orthodontic care is the sure way to have these problems properly addressed.

Poor Diet Habits

If you eat junk food, soda, and sugary snacks all the time, you might make tooth decay and gum disease more likely. Instead, consider healthy diet options, like fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Do your best to eat right and lead a healthy lifestyle.


Diabetics are more likely to experience serious health problems as a result of their condition, including vision loss and an increased risk of gum disease. The best way to deal with this is to properly monitor your blood sugar and manage your diabetes and general wellness.

Hormone Imbalances

Pregnancy and adolescence can result in your hormones being imbalanced. This can make you more prone to gum disease. While these hormonal issues will generally need to resolve on their own, proper oral hygiene is the best way to manage the risk of gum disease.

Your Family History

Some people are just more likely to experience gum disease and tooth decay than others. For people in this camp, be sure to practice good oral hygiene at all times, eat a healthy diet, and visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups and cleanings.

Learn More About Improving Your Periodontal Health

If you would like more information about treating gum disease and gum recession, we encourage you to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. Our team will help you achieve total dental wellness and a beautiful smile.

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