Gum recession can change the way your smile looks, increase the sensitivity of your teeth, and even expose your teeth to a greater risk of decay. If you notice your gums starting to creep back, exposing more of your teeth than usual, then you need to take action quickly. Follow these five tips to prevent your gums from receding further and restore the appearance and health of your smile.

Brush Extra Gently

Brushing too hard is one possible cause of gum recession. First, replace your toothbrush with one that has soft bristles. Second, pay close attention when you brush your teeth to ensure you aren't scrubbing too hard. All you need to clean plaque from your teeth is a gentle circular motion; there's no need to apply force.

Get Help For Teeth Grinding

Has your partner noticed you grinding your teeth at night? Do you wake every morning with an aching jaw or a headache? If so, talk to your dentist about teeth grinding. Continually clenching your teeth or grinding them against each other can damage your gums, contributing to gum recession. Your dentist can make you a custom-fit night guard that you wear at night to shield your gums and teeth.

Quit Tobacco Use

Smoking is a major risk factor for gum disease, a very common cause of gum recession. If you struggle to cut down on your own, ask your doctor about medications that can reduce your cravings for nicotine. Chewing tobacco is also a risk factor, so it's important to quit this harmful habit too.

Tackle Gum Disease

Gums often recede due to gum disease. The best way to control and reverse gum disease is to have regular checkups with a dentist. Your dentist can clean plaque and tartar from your teeth, removing the bacterial colonies that contribute to gum disease. He or she may also recommend using an anti-bacterial mouth rinse or toothpaste to combat the gum disease. Be sure to stick to a regular appointment schedule so your dentist can monitor your progress.

Consider a Gum Graft

When gum recession is advanced, a gum graft is the only way to restore your smile. In this minor oral surgery, a periodontist takes tissue from the palate and uses it to replace the gum tissue that has been lost. You will need to eat soft foods while the grafts heal. Once they have healed, your dentist will remove the stitches. By covering the roots of your teeth, gum grafts can help to reduce sensitivity and protect teeth from decay.