Gum recession and the art of worrying way too much

Nov 26, 2018
Hello everybody

Let me preface this by saying that I have been diagnosed with severe OCD, which means I worry... A LOT! Overthinking and worrying way more than I need to is what I do best. And this might also tie in to my current problem, which is why I'm mentioning it.

So for the past 2 years or so, I've realised that I suffer quite a bit from gum recession. I gotta be honest, up untill two years ago I had no idea that you could brush your teeth in a wrong way much less that you could actively damage both your teeth and gums by doing so. So for the first 25 years of my life I brushed way too hard and probably used the wrong tooth brush a large part of the time. As a result, my gums are receding. Nowadays, I am extremely careful that I brush as gently as possible while also using a soft toothbrush. However, I can't help but feel that the problem is still getting worse. I am currently seeing a gum specialist (I assume such a person has a special name that I am not aware of), but for the past 2-3 months I have been worrying A LOT about my gums. If they just stay the way they are now, I can easily live with that - I just don't want it to get worse! However, at the same time I also feel like it actually IS getting worse, because I feel like more and more of my teeth are starting to hurt. It's gotten to the point where I genuinely anxious to brush my teeth, because I feel like even the slighest touch of the gums is going to worsen the problem. Now here's my question: Is it possible that I, beacause I worry and overthink so much, feel the pain BECAUSE of that and not because it has actually gotten worse? Is it possible that the pain is all (or atleast mostly) in my head? Have any of you dentist worked with patients who felt this way before? Or do I just have to face the fact that it is actually getting worse by the day?

Thank you.


Verified Dentist
Jun 14, 2018
I can understand your worries. What you're experiencing happened to me before I went to Dental School. I brushed so hard that I have severe toothbrush abrasion and gum recession. This was about 25 years ago. After my discovery, my gums haven't receded. I do have an anterior open bite so my lower incisors have hyper-erupted. I tried to manage my open-bite as well as grinding and clenching with a custom bite guard.

I would find the softest bristle toothbrush. I like the Sunstar GUM previously made by Butler in a compact head and with a "Super tip." I also use a Sonicare. Other people like the reciprocating spin head of the Oral B and I have that unopened as well. MAKE SURE your bristles aren't flattening when you are finished...the bristles on your brush head should look new when you throw out after 3-4 months use. If they are flattening after use, you are causing damage.

Look into a custom bite guard as well. With OCD, you may be grinding and/or clenching and not know it. You can cause a lot of teeth and joint damage if you are.


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