Will My Receding Gums Grow Back? (Podcast)
Dr. Nammy Patel from Green Dentistry talks with John Maher about the causes of gum recession. She explains how to avoid gum recession and goes over several options for growing back gums.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, California, helping patients recognize the vital connection between dental health and whole body health and author of the best selling book Age with Style: Guide to a Youthful Smile and Healthy Living. Today, our topic is will my receding gums grow back. Welcome Dr. Nammy.
Dr. Nammy Patel: Hi John. Thank you for having me.
What Are Receding Gums? What Causes Receding Gums?
John: Sure. Dr. Nammy what are receding gums? I hear about that a lot. What is it that causes them?
Dr. Nammy: So receding gums… basically our tooth has a foundation of bone and it has gum tissue that covers it kind of like our body has the bone and then we have the skin covering it. So what happens a lot of times is that gum tissue recedes and it happens for several reasons. The first one is if the teeth are crooked and we’re over brushing one area more than the other it’ll cause gum recession, because we’ll rub one tooth more than the other.
Dr. Nammy: Super common. The other one is also, for pressing too hard on our toothbrush. So we’ll over brush the gums. It’s kind of like with your skin, if we over brush it, it’s going to get thinned out over a period of time. Then there’s other reasons for gum recession. Sometimes medications can cause it. Also clenching, grinding can cause it as well, just because there’s so much force on the teeth that the gum tissue starts receding over a period of time.
So we find that gum recession is very common. It also actually occurs from aging. Believe it or not, just like everything deteriorates over time. So for example, a little bit of aggressive brushing wasn’t a big deal in the beginning, but like you fast forward in your 60s, it starts becoming a big issue. And then the other reason we find gum recession is if we have a little frenum, kind of like this and there’s a muscle pull. So if there’s an area where there’s a big muscle pull, it’ll actually pull the gum tissue away and cause that gum recession as well.
Can Gum Tissue Regrow?
John: Okay. So when you do have receding gums, can gum tissue actually regrow?
Dr. Nammy: There are ways to regrow gum tissue and I’m so glad you asked this question because most people think that you can’t and the answer is you can. And so for example, the way that I have regrown gum tissue is I look at the root cause of the gum recession. So for example, I mentioned to you earlier, if the teeth are crooked, if once the tooth is sticking out, the gum tissue will recede.
So when I align the teeth very slowly with holistic orthodontics, what happens is that I’m able to get that gum tissue back, which is amazing. And I really, really, really love doing that in order to get to the root cause of the gum recession and then also fix the root cause so that we don’t have to do additional work or anything like that.
If You Correct the Cause of Recession, Gums Can Grow Back
John: Right. So in that case, it’s not going to grow back on its own, if you don’t correct the problem, it’s just going to keep happening and happening. So by correcting that problem, you’re taking away what’s causing the gum recession and then your gums will actually be able to grow back.
Dr. Nammy: Yes, for sure. And there used to be a time when we said, we can’t grow bone, but there are certain ways we can grow bone because the gum tissue is just like our skin, we have bone and we have skin covering it. We have to make sure the foundation of the gum tissue is there, which is the bone. And so for example, a lot of my patients with sleep apnea will have difficulty, will have a lot of gum recession. And so as we expand their pallet, activate their stem cells, we’re actually able to get gum tissue back, which is pretty phenomenal.
Best Ways to Treat Gums to Encourage Regrowth
John: Okay. Are there specific ways that you go about treating gums in order to help make it more likely for the gum tissue to grow back?
Dr. Nammy: Yeah. And the first one, it’s getting rid of the problem, right? What’s the cause of the recession? Like I was mentioning to you, activating the stem cells is fantastic. Also, making sure the tooth is not crooked. So that way it’s not getting more force than the other one.
And then there’s something fantastic that we do in our practice, which is called pinhole gum surgery. And it’s really not a surgery. It’s called pinhole gum rejuvenation where we actually make a 16 centimeter little space and we put collagen inside. So that way our gum tissue can regrow as our body activates our immune system, to be able to take that gum tissue and take that collagen and make new scar tissue out of it, which gives healthier gums and tougher gums, which is fantastic.
Home Treatments for Gum Recession
John: Okay. That sounds like a great treatment. Are there any ways that I can try to treat my receding gums at home as well that I could do on a daily basis to help regrow my gum tissue?
Dr. Nammy: One of the biggest things is… you can’t technically regrow gums this way, but it’s something that’s really helpful. When brushing your teeth you can use a roll up technique. So, mostly we’re brushing in circles or brushing down. This way we’re starting with the gums and then coming up. So that’s a really great way to help with cleaning the gums. And then the second is gum massage. So massaging our gums with like Sesame oil. Fantastic. It really, really, really helps our gum tissues become stronger and it helps get rid of disease and dysfunction as well.
John: So do I just put some Sesame oil on my finger and then rub it around on my gums? Is that all I need to do?
Dr. Nammy: Yeah. Do it for two minutes. That’s fantastic.
John: Okay. Kind of like I’m brushing my teeth, but with my finger.
Dr. Nammy: Yeah.
How to Prevent Gum Recession
John: Okay. Is prevention really the key here so that we’re not getting to that point where we need to try to regrow the gum tissue? And if so, how can people really work more at preventing gum recession?
Dr. Nammy: So the first few things to look at gum recession is going to be, the first thing we can do is control the amount of pressure that goes on brushing your teeth. Right. So my biggest and my favorite things I really love is electric toothbrushes because they tell you if you’re putting too much force on it. So that’s the number one thing you can do to stop gum recession is stop brushing so hard. And then the second is gum massage, which is really, really, really helpful.
And then after that, there’s a reason why the gum recession is there. It’s either from the teeth being crowded, or maybe apnea, or clenching, or something along those lines, we want to get to the root cause of all of that stuff. And always having a healthy lifestyle makes a big difference. And the reason I like to really talk about the healthy lifestyle is because prevention is so much better than the cure. And it’s just really the basics about controlling our stress, getting enough sleep, making sure that we’re taking care of ourselves and it’s so basic, but we got to do the basics really well. That’s what our bodies are wanting us to do.
Contact Green Dentistry If You Have Gum Recession
John: Absolutely. All right. Well that’s really great information, Dr. Nammy. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Dr. Nammy: My pleasure.
John: And for more information about Green Dentistry, visit the website at sfgreendentist.com or call (415) 433-0119.