Gums recede due to an infection of the gums and the bone surrounding the teeth or as a result of too much pressure placed on them from an unhealthy bite. If it is an infection of your gums and surrounding bone causing the recession this is called periodontal disease. This disease slowly dissolves away the bone surrounding your teeth. It is often associated with bleeding gums and a buildup of tarter along the roots of your teeth. Many things can cause this infection to occur.
Recession can also be caused by bacteria creeping in between older dental work and your own tooth and gum tissue. This traps the bacteria and causes a constant source of infection. Another source of the infection may be a lowered immune system. This is usually caused by diabetes or a prolonged illness such as pneumonia. The bacterium that causes this disease is found in everyone's mouth but is normal combated with a healthy immune system, but when you are sick and your immune system is lowered the bacteria can grow very rapidly and start to cause recession.
Too much stress on your teeth can also cause recession. If you teeth do not meet properly you will have place too much pressure on them or hit them at the wrong angles. This will cause the teeth to bend and flex and eventually the bone surrounding your teeth will shrink away from the excess force. Notches may even develop in your teeth near the gum line, which may become sensitive over time. This type of recession is usually associated with clenching and grinding your teeth. If you have been diagnosed with TMJ problems you are at risk for this type of recession.
Both of these types of recession can be treated so that you have a beautiful smile that does not hurt when you drink something cold, hot, or sweet. The key to treating receding gums is to determine what is causing the problem so that the most effective method can be applied.