The Seriousness of Gum Disease
Gum disease (also referred to as periodontal disease) is an infection of the bone and soft tissues that support the teeth. When you hear your dentist talking about gingivitis, this is the most mild or moderate form of gum disease, and it only affects soft tissues.
While the name implies that it affects the gums, gum disease can actually begin to affect the bone structure of your mouth leading to bone loss and potentially causing serious infections.
What factors lead to the development 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.
Anytime you experience bleeding gums you should speak with your dentist and schedule a dental examination when possible. Bleeding gum,s are usually the first sign that gum disease is developing. 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 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 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. Dental work is likely to have crevices where this bacteria can hide so be sure to clean these areas extra well.
What are some of the ways to avoid gum disease?
When it comes to preventing gum disease there is one answer that stands out – oral hygiene.
None of the above-listed factors alone can cause gum disease to develop and thrive. If you follow a strict oral hygiene routine you can help to prevent the bacteria from building up and overwhelming your mouth causing gum disease.
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, you can help prevent this serious condition.
There are certain factors that can increase the development of this bacteria. 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 actually develops comes down to the decisions you make every day about your oral health practices.