I have gum recession in multiple teeth. I wonder how it got so bad and if it is treatable?

Almost 70 per cent of the population have varying degrees of gum recession. So you are not alone. Gum recession can cause sensitivity, bone loss around the teeth and eventual loss of the tooth so it should not be taken lightly. Surprisingly, most recession seems to be caused due to dental overzealousness rather than dental neglect. Aggressive and incorrect brushing techniques, bruxism or night-grinding are some common causes. The treatment of gum recession is usually done as a minor surgical procedure where tissue is placed in the areas of the receded gums and allowed to heal. This is called grafting. Various options for the grafts are available depending on the patient and doctor’s preference and the clinical situation. Recently a more non-invasive procedure called the pinhole technique has become popular. Success rates are excellent provided a strict after-care protocol is followed. Most importantly please remember that the treatment of all causes of gum recession is only as good as the aftercare that follows.

I have been having bleeding gums for the past six weeks. Is it serious and what should I do to prevent it?

If you have bleeding gums, it might mean you have a condition called gingivitis. Fortunately, most of the time it is not serious and quite easily curable. However, bleeding gums can sometimes indicate other potentially serious disorders also. Gingivitis is caused by the inflammation of the gums in response to the presence of bacterial plaque. Plaque is usually left behind because of incorrect brushing technique, lack of flossing or insufficient brushing time – which is two minutes if you use an electric toothbrush or around three minutes if you use a manual one. Most people brush around 45 seconds on average. Other causes include the use of the wrong kind of toothbrush or malpositioned teeth. Hard bristles are not as flexible and hence, do not clean as well as softer bristles, which reach into the nooks and crannies and clean out most plaque. Other conditions which may cause bleeding gums are pregnancy, leukaemia (blood cancer) and Vitamin C or K deficiency, which is extremely rare. Certain other cancers of the mouth might also cause bleeding gums.