Gum disease is a common problem among adults in Canada, and it's often caused by poor oral hygiene. Our Calgary dentists explain how poor oral hygiene contributes to gum disease and what steps you can take to prevent it.
What is gum disease?
Periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) is an infection of the bone and soft tissues that support the teeth. Gingivitis is the mildest or moderate form of gum disease that only affects soft tissues, as described by your dentist.
More advanced forms of the disease infect bones and supporting structures of the teeth. This can eventually lead to tooth loss if left untreated.
What causes gum disease?
Plaque and bacteria buildup in the mouth, hormonal shifts, smoking, nutritional deficiencies, some prescription medications, uneven teeth, and even genetics can all increase your risk of developing gum disease.
Gum bleeding is a sign that you may have gum disease, so make an appointment with your dentist right away if you notice your gums are bleeding. Because your mouth contains millions of bacteria, good oral hygiene is essential every day to keep the bacteria at bay.
If you wait too long, your body will try to rid itself of the bacteria that hasn't been disturbed by sending more blood to your gums. Swelling, soreness, bleeding, and redness may result from excess blood. Your body believes it has an infection, which is known as gingivitis, and it will not heal unless the infection source is removed.
Plaque, tartar, or calculus, pockets beneath the gums (in cases of advanced gum disease), cavities, abscesses, and chipped teeth are all places where bacteria can be found. They may also hide in old dental work, as dental repairs leave an edge or margin on which bacteria can adhere.
What can I do to avoid gum disease?
There are no real 'tips and tricks' when it comes to avoiding gum disease. The best way to avoid developing gum disease is to maintain good oral hygiene habits, plain and simple.
None of the aforementioned factors can cause gum disease to develop and spread on its own. It will be very difficult for gum disease to take hold if you follow a strict and thorough oral hygiene routine.
While you may be predisposed to plaque buildup (perhaps due to genetics), if you brush and floss twice a day and visit your dentist for regular professional cleanings and checkups, gum disease is unlikely to progress.
The most common cause of gum disease is the unchecked development of bacteria and plaque in the mouth, whether due to a hormonal shift caused by pregnancy, taking prescription medication, or being a regular smoker.
Gum disease can usually be avoided by following a good oral hygiene routine. While the factors listed above can raise your risk (and make prevention more difficult), whether or not it develops is determined by the daily decisions you make about your oral health practices.