5 Causes of Gum Disease You Need to Know About
What Are the Common Causes of Gum Disease?
Do you have red, puffy gums that frequently bleed? Then you may be among the 75% of adults in the United States affected by gingivitis, more commonly known as gum disease.
Gingivitis is one of the most common oral health conditions that can go unnoticed. Historically, the emphasis has been on treating cavities and impacted wisdom teeth, pushing gum disease to the background and leaving patients uneducated about the condition.
There are numerous causes of gum disease. When left untreated by a Newport Beach dentist, you risk losing teeth and developing additional dental and health problems. Every person should understand the signs, symptoms, and causes of gum disease to detect it early and prevent severe consequences.
What is gum disease?
In dentistry, gum disease is known as periodontal disease. It is caused by an infection of the tissues that support and hold the teeth in place.
While some cases are mild and have minor symptoms, such as swollen gums and bleeding, advanced cases cause irreversible bone loss and eventually, tooth loss.
Getting an official diagnosis from a qualified dentist is crucial so you can begin periodontal therapy treatment. But that starts with understanding some of the symptoms. They can include:
- Red or swollen gums
- Bleeding or sore gums
- Receding gums
- Pain when chewing
- Constant bad breath
- Tooth loss
Tooth sensitivity is often associated with periodontal disease, but many people have sensitive teeth but maintain a healthy oral cavity.
Causes of Gum Disease
Many gum disease symptoms aren’t evident until the disease has advanced. Because of this, you must know the causes, or risk factors, involved. Understanding what factors contribute to periodontal disease can help you identify abnormalities with your oral tissues so that you can schedule an appointment with your Newport Beach dentist if you notice any signs.
The primary cause of gum disease is an accumulation of bacteria around the gums. This collection of pathogens surrounding the teeth and gum line causes inflammation and gingivitis when they aren’t removed during routine oral care. Unfortunately, accumulation of bacteria isn’t the only influencing factor.
1. Smoking and Tobacco Use
Many studies show that using tobacco products, like cigarettes, is linked to periodontal disease. The smoke interferes with gum tissue cell function, making your mouth susceptible to bacterial infections.
Switching to chewing tobacco won’t help the problem either. If you notice signs of periodontal disease, kick tobacco habits to prevent the development of a gum infection.
2. Your Genetics
Genetics is one contributing factor of gum disease that is beyond your control. When you have family members with symptoms, or a history of periodontal disease, give your oral care routine some extra attention.
You’re constantly at a higher risk of developing this condition, but it doesn’t mean it’s your destiny. With routine dental visits and proper at-home care, you can prevent this disease from forming.
3. Female Hormonal Changes
Hormones constantly change during your monthly cycle and while you’re pregnant. Women are more likely to develop gum disease during pregnancy because the tissues are more susceptible.
However, being pregnant doesn’t mean you’ll automatically develop periodontal disease. You will need to spend some extra time during your oral care routine.
Pregnant women commonly experience irritated, inflamed, red tissues and possibly some bleeding when brushing or flossing. Don’t be alarmed if these symptoms develop. But you should still schedule an appointment with your dentist for an evaluation and to answer your questions.
4. Medical Conditions and Medications
Diabetes is one medical condition associated with a greater risk for periodontal disease. Chemotherapy and similar treatments for cancer or AIDS may also increase your risk.
Some medications have a side effect that reduces saliva production. This leaves you with a dry mouth and encourages the spread of bacteria. Discuss your prescription medications with your doctor if you’re concerned they are affecting your oral health.
5. Nutritional Deficiencies
Getting all the recommended daily vitamins can be challenging. But one of the most detrimental is the lack of vitamin C. A diet high in sugar and carbohydrates but lacking water and vitamin C creates a clear path for developing gum disease.
Ensuring your diet has plenty of water and that you’re eating a vitamin C-enriched diet, with foods like oranges, strawberries, broccoli, and tomatoes, will help prevent gum issues.
Preventing Gum Disease
Although several factors are beyond your control, preventing periodontal disease involves forming a sound daily oral care routine. This routine should include the following:
- Brush twice daily
- Floss once daily
- Rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Quit smoking or using tobacco products
- Be on the lookout for signs of gingivitis
Regular visits with your dentist are a crucial step in preventing gum disease. Professional cleanings and exams can prevent or identify early signs of most oral health issues.