But turns out, overzealous brushing can actually cause receding gums. This is when your gums pull back from the surface of your teeth, exposing the root and making your teeth appear longer.
“Exposed tooth roots can cause sensitivity and tooth decay is more prone to developing on these rough root surfaces”, says Dr Imogen Bexfield, lead dentist and founder of White Swan Aesthetics. “It can also be unsightly as the roots are yellow.”
As soon as we’re old enough to hold a toothbrush we’re told to brush thoroughly, at least twice a day, for strong, gleaming white teeth.
If you’ve noticed something like this going on inside your gob, here’s what you need to know…
‘Hard’ toothbrushes are bad
We’re not even sure why hard bristles are an option to be honest, because they can cause more harm than good.
“Brushing your teeth too hard with an abrasive toothbrush can damage the gums and cause recession”, says Dr Imogen.
Always opt for soft bristles and lessen your pressure. “You don’t need to brush the teeth hard to brush effectively.”
“An electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor can be a good idea”, says Dr Imogen. “And a nice smooth toothpaste with no abrasive grains in it.”
Receding gums can also be caused by gum disease
If you’ve recently had a bout of gum disease, this is another common cause of gum recession.
“Plaque on the teeth and gums make them puffy and when the gums are cleaned by the dentist and the gum disease resolves, the gums shrink back and expose the root surface of the tooth”, says Dr Imogen.
Some people are more prone to receding gums more than others
If you have ‘thin’ gums, you can be more prone to recession than others. But no matter what, the key is to be gentle with your brushing.