Receding gums caused by bad bite?

I just saw a new dentist. He’s concerned about my receding gums (I’ll admit, they’re receding). Rather than give me the old gingivitis song-and-dance, he said that it’s probably caused by my bite not lining up, and that my bad bite was probably caused by the braces I had as a teenager. He recommended me to an orthodontist for more braces to correct my bite, then wants to do a night guard and gum grafting down the road.

I did a little bit of googling and learned that gum recession can sometimes be caused by bruxism or malocclusion, but those seem like extreme cases. I get compliments on my teeth all the time; nobody looking at me would say I have a bite problem. If I do, it’s gotta be a minor issue. I’m worried I may have stumbled into a quack. He made an attempt to explain the mechanics, but I remain unconvinced.

What’s the straight dope on this? Can a minor bite alignment issue be the cause of receding gums?

My original dentist told me about receding my receding gums, but didn’t suggest any remedy.

I eventually had to change dentists who gave me the spiel. Receding gums are a result of misalighed bite, not brushing too hard, not infection or whatever.
He referenced some dentist and school in Florida that he was trained at. I thought he was a quack so I went to someone else for a second opinion.

And got a very similar spiel.
So 3 years later I’ve just completed my second round of braces, but I still don’t really know if my receding gums were caused by my bite being off, if having braces will limit the recession, or if its all just a new scam thought up by dentists trying to cash in. I know the bulk of the money went to the orthodontist, but my dentist did get some buisness from the ordeal.

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you. I haven’t seen real published reports, but having 2 independent dentists tell me the same thing apparently was convincing enough to me.

Would I do it again? Probably, I’m a bit twitchy about trying to take care of my teeth; so if I didn’t get the braces and my teeth fell out, I would feel pretty bumed.

I wear a night guard b/c I was told that I have a good bite, but that I was likely grinding my teeth at night (which can be very hard on the gums). My teeth/gums have been in much better shape since I started doing this. Apparently the way the teeth come together (and the frequency with which they do) has a lot to do with the health of the tissue that surrounds them.

Gum disorders can often be traced to ineffective hygiene, particularly not flossing. Bacteria get into spaces between gum and tooth and create various types of havoc. Flossing can keep that from happening. Some types of havoc that those bacterial infections can cause can include gum disease, indicated in some cases by receding gums. Frankly, I’m surprised you didn’t hear that little talk as well.

I have gotten a similar line. It doesn’t sound right to me, but it does seem to be a common statement.

I’ve gotten that talk every time I’ve gone to the dentist for the last… let’s call it 20 years. You’re surprised? I just kept waiting for it, and then out of left field – bam, you need braces. No mention of flossing.

Glad to hear that at the very least this is a common suggestion. I was worried I’d stumbled on the chiropractor of dentistry. Thanks all.

I have had a dentist tell me it can be caused if you clench your teeth at night, but he recommended I try to learn to relax.

My dentist told me to floss more and use a soft-bristle toothbrush. He also wants me to consult an orthodntist because my teeth are crooked - but he’s never indicated that my bad orthodontia had any connection to my receding gums.

Just returned from the dentist and he gave me the spiel about misaligned bite causing my gum recession. Seems to make sense to me, and he did not recommend braces, only that I go see a periodontist, who could do a gum-graft. The dentist had me bite down on some carbon-paper-type stuff, which showed how when I bite there was only ONE point of contact, between my upper and lower canines, and they are the ones whose gums are receding. He filed my teeth a little bit so that contact is now made in many places when I bite down, thus distributing the force more evenly and taking the stress off that poor upper canine. He seems to think that will be all that’s necessary on his end, and that grafts have been very successful. Further, he said the likelihood is that I will need a crown before long if I don’t do anything, as he gum has little adhering tissue left and if it recedes any further it’ll be no good. He thinks the graft won’t cost more than that crown would, and it’ll be way better (and cheaper) in the long-run. Glad to finally get a reasonable explanation, as I was tired of dentists having no clue other than over-brushing (I don’t) brushing too hard (I don’t) or not flossing (I should, regardless). Fingers crossed, I’ve got an appointment with a periodontist…

I am a dentist, and yes malocclusion can cause gingival recession. Poor hygiene can also cause recession. Usually hygiene issues will have red puffy gums that bleed easily but generally the tooth is undamaged. usually with occlusion issues the gum isn’t inflamed and often there is a notch in the tooth at the gumline and wear facets on the tooth. These of course are generalities and of course you could have both at once.