Why Are My Gums Receding and What to Do About It

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM; Carrie Lam, MD

When aged, will have gums recedingGums receding are not only something you find only in the aged. It can happen to anyone at any time. It is a painful condition that often has added complications. These include gaps forming between your gum line and teeth where harmful bacteria build up over time. The bacteria, of course, could cause added complications such as infections. It also leads to damage of the gum’s supporting tissue and possibly the bone structure of your teeth as well. If left untreated, you may eventually lose a tooth or two.

Reasons for Gums Receding

People’s gums tend to recede for a number of reasons. One study found that, in many instances, it is caused when people are too fastidious about their oral hygiene. Yes, regular cleaning is fine, but when you overdo things, your gums seem to pay the price.

Genetics play a role, as research has found that up to 30 percent of people are actually predisposed to the condition. This, in effect, means that no matter how careful you are with your oral hygiene, you are genetically programmed to have gums that start receding at some stage in your life.

If you smoke, your smoking habits also play a role. It has been found that smoking plays a part in the development of different kinds of gum problems, with receding gums being one of them.

Hormonal imbalances, especially in menopausal women, can also cause the problem. This is due to the fluctuating levels of estrogen leading to inflammation and sensitivity that can cause gums receding. It also causes a weakening in the jawbone and teeth.

Diabetes, if not controlled, causes periodontal diseases such as inflammation, deterioration of the bone keeping teeth in place and gums receding.

A buildup of plaque on your teeth exposes your teeth and gums to an astonishing 400 bacterial species that produce irritating toxins that can damage teeth and gums, causing your gums to recede in the process.

Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue is a commonly misdiagnosed condition due to the many different symptoms and their relation to other common health problems. A good indicator of the condition, however, is when a number of these symptoms are present. Some of the symptoms associated with adrenal gland problems include: constant fatigue, stress, depression, food cravings, weight gain, a lowered libido, joint pain, frequent urination, dry skin, chronic infections, and dizziness. Receding gums, interestingly, is also a sign of adrenal fatigue, particularly concerning infections that are prevalent. In adrenal fatigue, the body can enter a catabolic state where it will break down its own body to provide vital nutrition to support other functions. Collagen, cartilage, muscle, and fat may be broken down to help support the adrenals and other vital organs for metabolic support. As such, your gums may start to recede as well.

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

The adrenal glands secrete a number of hormones that prepare the body to respond to any stressful situation, whether it is physiological or psychological. These hormones help with the regulation of a number of different bodily activities. Two hormones, however, stand out. They are cortisol and adrenaline.

Your gums receding may lead to adrenal fatigueCortisol and adrenaline play a major role in regulating the glucose in our blood and in raising our blood pressure. Both of these are necessary when the body is put under stress and goes into fight or flight mode.

Under normal circumstances, when the body is put under stress intermittently, the adrenal glands cope well. When stress is continuous or increases over time, however, the adrenals need to work harder to produce the hormones needed. At some point, they are not able to respond as they should, and the body’s natural stress response kicks in automatically.

What Happens When the Adrenals have Difficulty in Responding to Continued Stress?

When you are under constant stress and the adrenal glands have problems manufacturing the necessary hormones to combat this, the body’s NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response kicks in automatically. This is typical of stage three or four adrenal fatigue. The body seeks different pathways to fulfill the production of the necessary hormones, and different organs are tasked with the job.

Adrenal Fatigue and Gums Receding

There are a number of factors that cause your gums to recede. Factors such as diabetes and hormonal imbalances are linked to the condition. Quite often, receding gums are also inflamed. Inflammation also causes problems for the adrenal glands in that they need to work so much harder to allow the body to fight infection or inflammation.

Inflammation is the body’s direct defensive response to anything harmful in the body, whether it is toxins, pathogens, or damaged cells. The adrenal glands also produce anti-inflammatory hormones to help combat it, of which the key one is cortisol. Excessive cortisol can lead to the breakdown of collagen support – critical for maintaining healthy gum tissue. In times of stress, the body’s needs of vitamin C goes up multiple folds as it is needed to make cortisol. Subclinical depletion of vitamin C, especially if external supplementation is insufficient, leads to collagen breakdown, another source of receding gums. Replenishing with Vitamin C and other co-factors necessary for collagen rebuilder is very helpful to healthy gum support.

If for some reason the body is not able to suppress excessive inflammation from stress, it leads to a number of potential problems. These include autoimmune disorders, recurring infections, food sensitivities, and the failure to recover from illnesses.

Chronic infections such as those that originate from the teeth or gums can play a significant role in adrenal exhaustion. They contribute to the overload in toxins that the body has difficulty in getting rid of due to adrenal gland exhaustion. Fortunately, there are forms of alternative medicine that can help combat the problem of receding gums.

Remedies for Healing and Relief from Gums Receding

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil has anti-inflammatory properties that fight against gum disease. It kills off the bacteria present in gum recessions. Two teaspoons of eucalyptus oil added to a cup of warm water and swirled around the mouth works wonders. Be careful with ingesting eucalyptus oil if you have food sensitivities or a sensitive stomach.

Vitamin C

Beyond the hormone building qualities in the adrenal glands, Vitamin C also decreases the incidence of bleeding gums. It fights inflammation and builds collagen as mentioned earlier.

gums recedingVitamin C is great for allowing your body and adrenals to heal. However, in advanced stages of adrenal fatigue, your body may not be able to handle vitamin C in large amounts. Proceed with caution before starting on vitamin C. Anxiety, fatigue, and brain fog can be side effects. The more advanced the AFS, the less tolerable one is to vitamin C. In high doses, it can also trigger diarrhea as bowel tolerance level is reached. While Vitamin C is perhaps one of the most important building blocks of healthy gum tissue, it can also have tremendous negative consequences in those with advanced AFS. Healthy people without AFS tend to do very well with vitamin C, especially when it is combined with glutathione. The liposomal delivery system is best if tolerated.

Aloe Vera

The humble aloe vera plant has a number of medicinal uses. Research has shown that it heals and soothes gum disease. There are many aloe vera products available, including aloe vera juice, toothpaste, and mouthwash.
If you have many sensitivities, use aloe vera with caution. Even gentle plants like aloe vera can negatively affect your body if not careful.


Prevention is always better than cure, and practicing regular, proper oral health is one of them. Flossing and using mouthwash daily, and brushing your teeth in a gentle, circular motion, does much to prevent the onset of gums receding.

© Copyright 2017 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Gums receding