Tips to Prevent Gum Recession and Root Surface Wear

Toothbrush abrasion and gum recession #6

Gum Recession and Root Surface Loss


How to prevent becoming “long of tooth.”


No one wants to be “long of tooth,” an expression that is used to describe old age.  Unfortunately we see many people who end up with recession from various causes.

We have discussed previously some of the causes of tooth structure loss and recession.  Below you will find our recommendations on how to address these problems. Some may seem obvious but common sense is  still useful.


Tips to prevent gum recession and tooth structure loss

1. Use a soft toothbrush.  A soft brush will cause less abrasion. See our blog Best toothbrush

2. Use warm water to soften the bristles even more before brushing.

3. Change your toothbrush once a month. Over time the bristles that are originally rounded become sharp from wear they tear away at the gum.

4. Use a less abrasive toothpaste. See our blog on toothpaste for recommendations. Remember if you are interested in white teeth the more you wear away the enamel the darker your teeth get. Whitening toothpastes are often more abrasive.

5. Use less toothpaste. Toothpaste is the abrasive that “cleans” the teeth. The more you use the more abrasion occurs. Actually many studies show that you remove more bacteria by dry brushing without toothpaste than with. Toothpaste simply makes our mouth feel fresher. See our tooth paste blog for the correct amount.

6. Use a fluoride mouthwash before you brush. This will serve two purposes:1. It will harden the teeth prior to brushing 2. It will freshen your mouth without excessive toothpaste.

7. Do not use your whole hand wrapped around the toothbrush to push the toothbrush against the teeth. Think of holding the toothbrush like a champagne glass vs holding a beer mug.  consider getting an automatic toothbrush that shuts down when you push too hard.

8. If you have a small mouth, get a smaller toothbrush and close your mouth so that the tooth brush can fit more easily between the cheek and teeth without causing undo pressure against the teeth and gums.

9. If you have strong cheek muscles, resist the urge to push the toothbrush with your cheeks. Close and relax your cheeks.

10. Do not brush directly after acidic foods or drinks, especially sodas as the teeth are softened and wear away more quickly. Instead rinse your mouth with water to dilute the acid.

11. Drink and rinse with alkaline water. See our blog on Carlsbad Mineral water

12. Change your routine. If you are wearing away the gum on the upper left canine area, the most common place for right handed brushers to cause abrasion, start brushing somewhere else and finishing in another area.  Most build up occurs on the tongeu side of the lower teeth, consider starting there.

13. Try to brush one tooth at a time rather than pushing and brushing across several teeth at once. Use a smaller rotating motion rather than scrubbing. Keep the toothbrush moving.

14. If your teeth do not feel clean enough try using a water pik with flouride mouth wash. If you are worried about bad breathe brush your tongue. See our blog Bad breath

15. If you grind your teeth at night wear a night guard. Grinding your teeth causes stress and tooth structure loss.

16.If you have acid reflux consider seeing a medical doctor and implementing an additional fluoride rinse prior to going to bed.

Some recession can be anticipated during your lifetime and may also be related to tooth position, genetics  or even orthodontics, the key is to control the amount that occurs.