Recession may be caused by a myriad of different factors – agressive tooth brushing, grinding or clenching, acid based diets, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), periodontal disease, or bone loss. It is usually more prevalent in fair skin individuals with thinner gum tissue as well. There can be a single cause but usually it is a combination of the above that cause the gums to pull back and expose the root surface of the tooth. This newly exposed root surface (called cementum) is porous and softer than existing enamel. It is easily worn or notched during brushing once exposed. Patients also experience sensitivity in that area as a result of temperature fluctuations during eating (ie: ice water during a hot cooked dinner), acidity of the foods being eaten (fruits, citrus, soda, etc), and touching. See below for recommendations for sensitive teeth but once recession happens, it cannot predictably be re-covered with gum tissue. Measures must be taken to decrease sensitivity with newly exposed tooth surfaces and prevent further tooth wear or gum recession.