Receding gums in my 20s

All the things I know now, which I wish I knew then.

I started to notice receding gums in my early 20s and wished I had done something about it sooner

A personal blog from a 28 year old suffering with gum disease and the first signs of receding gums.

Don’t think gum disease and gum recession in your 20s is possible or uncommon? Think again.

Back when I was 16, at my regular dental check-up, I was told I had gum disease. At the time, I didn’t care, partly because my dentist said it in a huff and offered no explanation other than telling me not to smoke. But you know what telling a 16-year-old what to do is like.

There were no next steps, no advice telling me how often to come in or a prevention plan. It was up to me, and I thought if my dentists weren’t bothered, why should I be? I can’t help but think, knowing what I know now, that all of this could be avoided, and my oral health could be better preserved, and in all honesty, it’s just down to poor oral education.

Now, I’m in my late 20s and employed as a dental content writer; every day, I read about the dangers of gum disease and receding gums and what will eventually happen if you don’t get it treated in the early stages. After examining my teeth, I found that, particularly in the lower jaw, in my front teeth where plaque and tartar build-up was significant, my gums were beginning to recede, and panic struck. 

The thought of losing my teeth is a real fear – and with my 20s seeing this level of progression, I’m worried about what my 30s hold. For much of my 20s, I ignored the problem, mostly out of fear. For example, I was worried that if tartar and plaque build-up were removed, it would expose receding gums and leave behind deeper, triangular pockets. But I know that holding on to this is so much more worse than getting it treated and taking next steps to better my oral health.

Here's what I know

  • – If gum disease has progressed by the gingivitis stage, it cannot be reversed only managed.
  • – There’s no cure for gum recession, but certain treatments can help.
  • – Cosmetic treatments can only do so much at certain stages.
  • – Wobbly teeth and tooth loss is an eventuality without dental intervention.
  • – Tooth sensitivity is common when the gums begin to pull away from teeth exposing the root.
  • – Receding gums can also be caused by heavy brushing, not just gum disease. So brushing harder to clean plaque and tartar can also make the situation worse.
  • – Common oral hygiene routines are not enough to prevent the condition from progressing.
  • – Hygienist appointments should be more common than every six months.
  • – At-home remedies and gels don’t work (at least not for me).
  • – Medicated mouthwash can help relieve symptoms.
  • – Flossing and interdental brushes need to be your best friend.

I’ve started my journey to treating gum disease. I know I’ll never get the gum I’ve lost back – but I’m happy that I acted when I did to stop the problem from getting worse. It’s meant that by treating it at this stage, I’ve managed to avoid gum graft surgeries and it’s great to work with a dentist who takes this condition seriously finally.


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