Gum disease is a very common dental condition among adults in Canada, and most of the time it is the result of poor oral hygiene habits. In this blog, our Orangeville dentists discuss the causes of gum disease and how this issue can be avoided.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease can also be called periodontal disease, and it is an infection of the soft tissues and bone that supports the teeth. When dentists talk about gingivitis, they are referring to gum disease in its most mild or moderate stage, when it's only affecting the soft tissues.
When gum disease becomes more advanced it starts to infect the bones and structures that are supporting the teeth. If this goes untreated it could eventually result in tooth loss.
The Causes of Gum Disease
A handful of elements can contribute to your risk of getting gum disease, such as a buildup of plaque and bacteria in your mouth, smoking, hormonal shifts, some prescription medications, genetics, nutritional deficiencies, and uneven teeth.
If your gums are bleeding, it could be a sign that you have gum disease, making it important to book an appointment with your dentist when you first notice your gums bleeding. Because your mouth is home to millions of bacteria, it's imperative to implement great oral hygiene habits each day, so you can disrupt the bacteria.
If it is left too long, your body will try to rid itself of undisturbed bacteria by sending more blood to your gums. 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 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.
Way You Can Prevent Gum Disease
There aren't any actual 'tips and tricks' you can use to avoid developing gum disease. The best thing you can do to prevent this condition is to simply keep up excellent oral hygiene habits.
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 are a regular smoker, the most common cause of gum disease is the unimpeded development of bacteria and plaque in the mouth.
In most situations, you can easily prevent gum disease by maintaining a great oral hygiene routine. While the problems detailed above can put you at a higher risk (and make prevention more difficult), whether it actually develops is determined by the choices you make every day about your oral health practices.