Dental Conditions: Gum Disease
Gum disease (also referred to as periodontal disease) is an infection of the bone and soft tissues that support the teeth. Gingivitis is another form of gum disease. It, however, is the earliest form and is known to only affect the soft tissues.
More advanced forms of the disease infect bones and supporting structures of the teeth. If you leave gum disease untreated you run the risk of experiencing bone loss.
The Main Causes Behind Gum Disease
Some of the most common risk factors behind gum disease include plaque and bacteria buildup in the mouth, hormonal shifts, smoking, nutritional deficiencies, some prescription medications, uneven teeth and even genetics.
Did you know that bleeding gums are one of the easiest-to-spot signs that you may be suffering from gum disease? Because your mouth contains millions of bacteria, great oral hygiene every day is a must - to disrupt the bacteria.
When this disease is untreated, your body will then try to take on the task of getting rid of the bacteria itself which means sending large amounts of blood to the area. The excess blood may cause swelling, soreness, bleeding and redness. Your body thinks it has an infection - this is called gingivitis, and it won't heal until the source of the infection is eliminated.
Bacteria can be found in plaque, tartar or calculus, pockets beneath the gums (in cases of advanced gum disease), cavities, abscesses and chipped teeth. They may also hide in old dental work, as repairs to your teeth create an edge or margin that bacteria can adhere to.
Ways That You Can Avoid Developing Gum Disease
There is one way that you can almost be sure will help you avoid the development of gum disease. Through a consistent oral hygiene routine.
None of the above-listed factors alone can cause gum disease to develop and thrive. If you maintain a rigorous and thorough oral hygiene routine, it will be very difficult for gum disease to start to take hold.
For example, while you may be prone to plaque buildup (perhaps due to genetics), as long as you brush and floss your teeth twice a day and visit your dentist as prescribed for regular professional cleanings and checkups, chances are that gum disease will not be able to fully develop.
Whether a pregnancy causes a hormonal shift, you take prescription medication or you are a regular smoker, the most common cause of gum disease is the unimpeded development of bacteria and plaque in the mouth.
Most of the time, gum disease can be easily prevented with a good oral hygiene routine. While the issues listed above can increase your risk (and make prevention more challenging), whether it develops comes down to the decisions you make every day about your oral health practices.