What is gum disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection of the soft tissues and bones that surround and support the teeth. It is also known by its much more common name, gum disease. It can come in several different forms. For example, gingivitis is a mild to moderate form 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. If left untreated, this infection can eventually result in tooth loss.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease can be influenced by various factors, including the presence of bacteria and plaque in the mouth, smoking, hormonal changes, certain medications, nutritional deficiencies, misaligned teeth, and even genetic predisposition. To minimize the risk of developing gum disease, it is advisable to avoid these contributing factors.
However, it is important to note that none of these factors alone can solely cause gum disease to develop and spread throughout the body. By maintaining a consistent and comprehensive oral hygiene routine, it becomes highly challenging for gum disease to take hold and progress.
For instance, if you have a genetic predisposition to plaque buildup, regular brushing and flossing twice a day, coupled with routine visits to the dentist for professional cleanings and checkups, can significantly reduce the likelihood of developing gum disease.
In cases of uneven teeth, the accumulation of plaque, bacteria, and food debris between the spaces can make it more difficult to maintain cleanliness. Nonetheless, as mentioned earlier, diligently brushing and flossing your teeth and adhering to regular dental visits can help prevent the development of gum disease.
The Most Common Cause of Gum Disease
Whether you are going through hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy, are a smoker, or take certain prescription medications, gum disease is primarily caused by the unrestricted growth 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).