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Gum recession - conservative treatment?

I, a 48 y.o. female, was recently told at my last dental cleaning that I had gum recession on my lower teeth.  My prior visit was 1.4 years ago, and I had been going to this dental practice about every 8 to 9 months prior to that.  I was very depressed in 2009 and thus missed the visit.  Anyway, the recession to me (on my lower eye teeth and the one next to it, both sides) looks REALLY severe  - with the V shaped recession - and my dentist seemed rather cavalier about it, saying that he does not recommend the gum grafting, said "don't worry your teeth are not going to fall out" but he did not bother to measure the recession nor tell me what to do about it other than consult a periodontist (if I wanted to) and have more frequent cleaning.  I was upset that his prior hygienist *never* mentioned a word about my gums and now I'm quite worried about this.  if I had the signs of gum recession, I feel they should have told me and also advised that I come every 6 months *without fail* for a cleaning.  I always brushed 2x/day and flossed most nights.  I realized I had a bad habit of biting down on my brush and thus have stopped this!

Anyway, I am afraid of the gum surgery and my dentist says the success rates are not that great.  What are my other options?   In the meantime, I am brushing the V shaped areas very gently (per online advice I received) but there still appears to be quite a bit of "white stuff" that gets stuck in the gum line.  I assume this is plaque.  How do I keep this area clean?  I also started doing daily saline rinses twice a day.  THANKS for your help.

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