Filing a lawsuit claiming that tooth brushing is harmful is ridiculous. Improper brushing is not the primary cause of gum recession and tooth sensitivity. Far more often than not receding gums are caused by lack of brushing and not the brushing of teeth, as a class action lawsuit filed in Chicago recently charged
Periodontal disease can cause gum recession. Lack of adequate brushing and flossing leads to the build-up of plaque and calculus. If allowed to remain for an extended period of time, these substances can cause bone loss and the formation of periodontal pockets around the teeth. With the gums unsupported by hard tissue, recession can ensue.
Recent studies indicate that constant clenching of the teeth and grinding the teeth at night may cause micro-fracturing of the teeth at the gum line, resulting in notching of the teeth in this area. This too may lead to gum recession. Brushing with a hard bristle brush can also be harmful, but dentists have advocated the use of soft brushes for many years.
The most common cause of gum recession is the lack of a sufficiently thick band of gingiva around the tooth. This is a problem many people develop naturally. Improper brushing can aggravate this pre-existing condition. Gingiva grafting can correct or prevent gum recession.
Brushing all the rhetoric aside, it appears the Chicago lawsuit has more to do with digging for gold rather than receding gums.
Samuel L. Duncan, D.D.S.