Receding Gums: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/24/2020

Receding gums occur when the tissue around the base of the teeth wears away, exposing more of the root of the tooth than previously seen. Gum recession is a common problem that can cause pockets or gaps to form between the teeth and gum line that can be sites for bacteria to grow. If left untreated, the supporting tissue and bone structures of the teeth can be severely damaged.

Signs and symptoms of receding gums include the

  • appearance of tooth lengthening,
  • loose teeth,
  • sensitive teeth, and
  • inflammation (redness, swelling) of the gums.

Causes of receding gums

Receding gums can be caused by

  • aging,
  • wear and tear from strong toothbrushing,
  • genetic factors,
  • hormonal changes,
  • tobacco use,
  • tooth grinding, or
  • poor dental hygiene.

Other receding gums symptoms and signs

  • Appearance of Tooth Lengthening
  • Inflammation (Redness, Swelling) of the Gums
  • Loose Teeth
  • Sensitive Teeth


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.