Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. It includes both gingivitis and periodontitis. Gum disease is a serious condition that can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. There are many risk factors that lead to gum disease. They include:
The cause of the periodontal disease is bacterial plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky biofilm that builds up on tooth surfaces, hardening into tartar or calculus. This forms when you don't brush and floss your teeth properly. Bacteria flourish in the plaque buildup, which leads to inflammation and infection of the gum tissues. This infection can then spread to the supporting bone structure as the oral bacteria moves below the gum line. Gradually, the infection can cause the bone to deteriorate, leading to tooth loss.
There is actually a lot that weighs into a person's likelihood of developing gum disease. Your genes, the bacteria in your mouth, and any hormonal changes can all impact how susceptible your mouth is to periodontal disease. While you can't change genetics or hormones, you do have control over your oral hygiene routine. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and seeing your dentist regularly are the best ways to prevent gum disease (and many other oral health issues).
If you suffer from eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia, it can create an imbalance in the bacterial makeup of the body. This can lead to gum disease. The bacteria can enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body, like the developing fetus in the mother's uterus.
Stress can also play a role in the development of gum disease. When your body is under constant stress, it can release chemicals that can lower your immune system's ability to fight off infection. Your body can struggle to fight off the bad bacteria that lead to gum disease when you are under stress. Your dentist should be able to diagnose your gum issues and help you treat the problem.
Cutting down on cigarettes and cigars is the most effective way to prevent gum disease. But even if you stop smoking, the gums are still in danger of infection or periodontitis from secondhand smoke. Plus, smoking reduces blood flow to your teeth and gums, which can make recovery after oral surgery more difficult.
Smoking can also reduce the effectiveness of certain medications. Let your dentist know if you smoke and consider quitting for health reasons. Your dentist can help you quit with medication and counseling.
To learn more about gum disease and treatment options, call Dobson Ranch Dental Care at (480) 838-8558 and schedule a consultation with Dr. Christopher Payne.