Many people ask me if their electric toothbrush can cause their gums to recede, or even cause a gummy smile. Although excessively brushing the gum line can weaken the tissue especially if the gum tissue is thin and cause the gum line to recede, this will not result in a gummy smile. That’s because a gummy smile and gum recession are two different conditions with different causes and treatments.
A gummy smile is most often the result of a hypermobile lip line – meaning that the upper lip rises higher than normal, exposing an excess of gum tissue. One of the best and least invasive ways to correct a gummy smile is to use a lip-lowering procedure that repositions the upper lip in relation to the gum line so that less gum tissue is shown when smiling.
Gum recession can be the result of several factors, including excessive and improper brushing, gum disease, bone loss, or insufficient gum tissue. Rather than experiencing a high amount of exposed gum tissue when smiling, a person with gum recession may notice that their teeth appear “long” due to overexposure of the tooth root. Gum grafting is a common treatment that involves using the existing gum tissue to naturally replenish the gum line. If left untreated, gum recession can lead to tooth loss.