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Receding gums, ('getting long in the tooth') causes the exposure of the root surfaces of the teeth. Root surfaces are softer and more porous than the rest of the tooth, so they absorb stains readily and are not as resistant to decay. When a decay occurs the root becomes softened and darkly stained. In severe cases the affected teeth may break off at the gums.

Common causes

  • Incorrect brushing
  • Gum disease

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoid vigorous brushing. Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste can help protect exposed root surfaces from decay. A regular dental check-up can help detect and treat root decay early.