Among Canadian adults, gum disease is a very common problem. It's most often caused by a lack of proper oral hygiene. Our Lethbridge dentists discuss how to prevent gum disease and what can be done to treat it.
What is gum disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection of the bones and soft tissues that surround and support the teeth. It's also referred to by its much more common name, gum disease. It can come in several different forms. For example, gingivitis is a mild to moderate type of gum disease that affects only the soft tissues of the mouth and teeth. In more advanced cases of gum disease, the bones and supporting structures of the teeth become infected. Left untreated, this infection can eventually lead to tooth loss.
What causes gum disease?
Numerous factors can contribute to gum disease, including bacteria and plaque buildup in the mouth, some prescription medications, hormonal shifts, uneven teeth, nutritional deficiencies and even genetics. To reduce your risk of developing gum disease, try to avoid some of the things listed above.
However, bear in mind that none of these factors will on their own cause gum disease to develop and spread throughout the body. As long as you maintain a rigorous and thorough oral hygiene routine, gum disease will have an extremely difficult time getting a foothold and spreading.
Example: You may be genetically predisposed to plaque buildup; however, if you brush and floss twice a day, in addition to visiting your dentist at prescribed intervals for a professional cleaning and checkup, the likelihood of developing gum disease is reduced.
If you have uneven teeth, plaque, bacteria, and food debris that accumulates much more easily in the spaces between them, it makes it much more difficult to keep them clean. However, as previously stated, gum disease is unlikely to develop if you are diligent in brushing and flossing your teeth thoroughly, as well as visiting your dentist on a regular basis.
The Most Common Cause of Gum Disease
Whether you are experiencing a hormonal shift (perhaps a pregnancy), are a regular smoker, or take a prescription medication, gum disease is ultimately caused by the unimpeded development of bacteria and plaque in the mouth.
This is actually good news because it means that most of the time gum disease is easily prevented by a good oral hygiene routine. While the above-listed issues can increase the risk of gum disease (and make prevention more difficult), it is ultimately up to you whether it actually develops.
The best way to prevent gum disease is twice-daily brushing and flossing, and regular visits to your dentist for a professional cleaning (for most people, twice a year is should be sufficient).