Gum Disease: What is periodontal disease?
Gum disease or periodontal disease is a dental condition that causes an infection within the bones and soft tissue of your teeth which can have devastating consequences. The mildest form of gum disease is usually referred to as gingivitis which commonly affects the gums.
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 are the main causes 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.
If you notice that your gums are bleeding when you are brushing your teeth, it is usually a good indication that .you are experiencing the symptoms of gum disease and should visit a dentist as soon as possible. Because your mouth contains millions of bacteria, great oral hygiene every day is a must - to disrupt the bacteria.
When you are suffering from gingivitis or gum disease your body will take notice of the infection and send more blood to the area to help cleanse the bacteria. 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. They may also hide in old dental work, as repairs to your teeth create an edge or margin that bacteria can adhere to.
Are there any ways to help prevent the occurrence of gum disease?
If you are hoping for some quick tricks to help prevent gum disease, there are none. By keeping up with a solid oral hygiene routine you can help prevent the serious repercussions of gum disease.
It is also important to note that the factors listed above are not alone in causing gum disease. If you maintain a rigorous and thorough oral hygiene routine, it will be very difficult for gum disease to start to take hold.
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, chances are that gum disease will not be able to fully develop.
Whether a pregnancy causes a hormonal shift, you take prescription medication or 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.