How to Stop Receding Gums
Gum recession can only happen when the underlying bone tissue of the upper and lower jaw has diminished through the process of demineralisation caused by gum disease, teeth clenching and or trauma.
In this blog, Dr Rachel Hall of Evolve Dental Holistic dentist Kenmore explores the various methods optimise maintaining bone density in the jaws as well as how we can actually rebuild bone tissue that has been demineralised to stop your gum recession.
Can Receded Gums Grow Back
To my knowledge, once the gum tissue has receded, it will not ‘regrow’ back up to the ‘height on the tooth’ that it was originally. Now, that doesn’t suggest that we can’t strengthen our jaw bones to stop any further recession or that our teeth will become loose(r) which results in the number 1 reason adults lose teeth.
Gum tissue can only recede once the underlying bone has pulled back. And we can remineralise this bone tissue, but only within the current structure of jawbone still intact.
How to support optimal bone density and remineralisation
So I’ve been reading research papers about the topic of gum recession ones like “Gingival inflammation, bacterial infection, alveolar bone destruction, and subsequent tooth loss are characteristic features of periodontal disease, but the precise mechanisms of bone loss are poorly understood.”
And here in lies the issue – the how of why the bone disappears isn’t clear. And therefore it’s harder to provide answers and solutions.
How To Stop Your Receding Gums
Here’s what dental science knows and hence some of the solutions that are currently on offer to stop gum recession:
1. Stop gum disease
This is kind of self-evident, but it’s worth stating here. In order to have any hope of rebuilding bone tissue in the jaws, we have to make sure that the number 1 cause of bone loss in adults (advanced gum disease) isn’t continuing to undermine your oral health.
I’m not about an eradicating bad bacteria policy, but you do need to understand what conditions allow these disease-causing bacteria to live and thrive so we can ideally disrupt and disorganise their efforts to destroy our bodies.
A great place to start is oral hygiene. Knowing how to brush your teeth to reduce gum disease, why brushing is so important, how to floss effectively and what order is best for our oral hygiene habits are all excellent steps toward increasing our knowledge of how to disrupt and disorganise the ‘bad bugs’.
2. Can jaw exercise help prevent receding gums?
If we look at our current standard Western diet it consists of many soft and processed foods that do not require a lot of chewing. Could eating a processed food diet lacking fibre to chew functionally cause us to lose our oral health?
While its obvious that eating a diet that lacks the nutrition necessary to create and maintain optimal health definitely contributes to a decline in our oral health it may not be so in your face that the texture and ‘chewability’ factor of the foods we consume may also have a part to play in the strength of our jaw bone and gums.
So are soft processed foods contributing to a weakening of the jawbones? Here I’m talking about the physical action of chewing on foods that require that we chew them to break them down. This action of chewing activates one of the universal laws - ‘Use it or lose it’.
The bone density in our jaws, or anywhere else in the body for that matter, will diminish if we don’t put stress/demand on them. This is why weight bearing exercises are essential to reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis and the same can be said to be true for our jaws. The body has an innate intelligence of conservation and thriftiness about it. If the body senses that the bones in the jaw aren’t being stressed/challenged, the body will shunt the minerals from that area to another area that has a greater need for bone building minerals.
We want to be sure to gently yet persistently challenge our bodies. Whether it’s working out to stress the bones to avoid osteoporosis and maintain muscle mass or challenging our mental faculties with memory games or crossword puzzles to challenge our cognitive function, the body grows stronger when it’s (gently) challenged.
Jaw gym solutions for strong teeth and jaws
Any food that you really have to dig in and chew is a great workout for our jawbone density. A quality organic meat jerky is a great ‘to go’ workout that also provides a source of quality nutrition. A good-sized snip of raw parsley, enough to make a mouthful, has loads of nutrition and fibre to chew and get a jaw workout.
So the key take way here is to have a mouthful of nutritious food that requires you to chew strongly on it for several chews to soften gives a superior jaw workout which will encourage preservation of the jaw bone height and density.
3. Stopping gum recession with nutrition
Nutrition is a major and perhaps the most important component for optimal oral health.
Ideally its better for us to get our nutrition from real foods than from supplements. Bottom line, we can’t make it any better than nature. However, there is merit in knowing the actions and functions that many nutrients play in this process.
It goes without saying that calcium and phosphorus are important macronutrients for maintaining healthy jawbones. However, research clearly shows that there are many other factors involved, including:
Vitamin D‚ which is responsible for absorbing calcium from the digestive tract. Without vitamin D‚ the calcium that you get from foods or supplements can’t be used by your body.
Vitamin K2 transports the calcium in your body to the bones that need it. Some studies have suggested that large amounts of vitamin K2 may increase bone density in people with osteoporosis.
Vitamin C promotes the production of the collagen and osteoblasts responsible for forming new bone material. (Most people with osteoporosis are likely to be vitamin C deficient by the way).
Magnesium helps transport calcium to the bones in addition to assisting in the absorption process.
Zinc manages the secretion of a hormone called calcitonin‚ which regulates calcium levels in cells and is also important for bone development.
Boron works like vitamin D‚ because it improves your body’s absorption of calcium and magnesium.
Strontium is used to improve your bone density‚ which is critical to overall bone health.
In general, we are nutrient deficient. Yes, even if you are eating what you consider a really, really good diet. The fact remains that the earth’s soils have been so damaged over the past 75 years from treating a biological medium (soil) like it’s only a chemical medium and the resulting use of petroleum-based fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides.
Unless you raise a very large percentage of your foods on a farm that’s been biodynamic for 50 years, you’re probably dealing with some level of deficiency.
Of particular concern is the loss of trace minerals from the soil that modern commercial farming practices have created. So, we’re all deficient to one extent or another.
Knowing what foods to eat is only part 1 of the battle, we also must understand what foods undermine our oral health.
4. Foods to Avoid to Optimise Bone Health
Knowing what foods disrupt or diminish our uptake of the nutrition necessary to optimise our bone health is important.
A common ‘anti-nutrient’ is phytic acid, found in high concentrations in grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Phytic acid (also called phytate) inhibits the absorption of several minerals including iron and zinc.
That means, even if you are eating enough specific minerals, your body may not be getting use of all the nutrition. You are what you absorb from what you eat.
To lower the phytic acid in these above foods either avoid eating them or use special preparation techniques like soaking and sprouting which deactivate the phytic acids present in these foods.
5. Sugar – The White Poison
Sugar disrupts the balance of our blood chemistry which directly undermines our body’s ability to optimally express our genetic ability, sugar also suppresses our hunger for real food and so can cause us to miss the opportunity to nourish our health with foods that actually give us the nutrition necessary to thrive.
I can hear you… “But our brains run on glucose. Don’t we need to eat at least some sugar?”
No. In fact, experts argue that the body functions metabolically much ‘cleaner’ and more efficiently using fats for energy rather than sugar. Sorry but the truth is we don’t need to eat any sugar; our body can produce enough energy from other sources.
Sugar is also pro-inflammatory and will also increase the amount of bad harmful bacteria in your mouth – both of which will make it more likely for you to develop or accelerate gum recession not stop it.
I hope that this information on how to stop receding gums and remineralise your jawbones helps you along your path to optimal oral health.