Gum disease is remarkably common among Canadian adults and is most often the direct result of poor oral hygiene. Our Moose Jaw dentists discuss how it develops and how you can avoid it.
What Gum Disease Really Is
Gum disease (also referred to as periodontal disease) simply put, is an infection of the bone and soft tissue that support the teeth. If you hear a dentist talk about gingivitis, they are discussing the beginning stage of gum disease that has not yet moved below the soft tissue.
More advanced forms of the disease infect bones and supporting structures of the teeth. This can eventually lead to tooth loss if left untreated.
The Common Causes Of Gum Disease
A number of factors can contribute to your risk of developing gum disease, including plaque and bacteria buildup in the mouth, hormonal shifts, smoking, nutritional deficiencies, some prescription medications, uneven teeth and even genetics.
Bleeding gums are a clue that you may have gum disease, which is why you should schedule an appointment with your dentist if you notice that your gums are bleeding. Because your mouth contains millions of bacteria, great oral hygiene every day is a must - to disrupt the bacteria.
If it is left too long, your body will try to remove the undisturbed bacteria by sending more blood to your gums. The excess blood may cause swelling, soreness, bleeding and redness. Your body will assume that 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.
Tips To Avoid Developing Gum Disease
There is no one specific tip or trick that can stop the development of gum disease, the best thing you can do is maintain a good 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 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 prevented by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once per day. While the issues listed above can increase your risk or make cleaning your teeth more difficult, whether it actually develops comes down to the decisions you make every day about your oral health practices.