Gum disease also called periodontitis or periodontal disease is caused by bacteria growing in the mouth. If not properly treated, gum disease can result in tooth loss from the destruction of the surrounding tissues that hold teeth in place. Gum disease is typically caused by poor brushing or flossing habits, which cause plaque to build up and harden. While improper oral hygiene is the primary cause, other factors increase your chances of developing periodontal disease. Risk factors includeꓽ
- Tobacco use. Smoking or chewing tobacco prevents the gum tissue from being able to heal.
- Misaligned teeth. Crooked or overlapping teeth affect proper oral hygiene as they create areas that are harder to brush and care for, leading to excessive plaque buildup.
- Hormonal changes. Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can cause blood vessels in the gums to be vulnerable to bacteria making the mouth susceptible to periodontal disease.
- Certain illnesses. Illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS can increase your risk of developing periodontal disease. Radiation and other cancer treatment courses decrease your body’s ability to fight infections. The same is true of diabetes and HIV/AIDS as they severely impact circulation and your body’s defence mechanisms, thus increasing the risk of gum disease.
- Alcohol consumption. Alcohol generally harms your oral defence systems leading to an increase in the chances of developing gum disease.
- Poor nutrition. A diet high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in water contributes to excess plaque buildup. Also, a diet that is low in vitamin C can impair your body’s ability to heal, further putting you at risk for periodontal disease.
- Certain medication. Some medications used to treat hypertension, pain, allergies, depression, and other ailments put you at an increased risk of developing periodontal disease.
- Family history. A history of dental disease in your family can increase your chances of developing gum disease.
What are the warning signs of gum disease?
The signs of gum disease can be so subtle that millions of people don’t know they have a serious infection, that if left untreated, can result in tooth loss. However, signs of gum disease includeꓽ
Gums that bleed easily during and after brushing or while flossing Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth that will not go away Swollen or tender gums Receding gums resulting in the appearance of longer teeth Loose or shifting teeth Mouth sores Changes in the fit of partial dentures Puss between the teeth and gums Pain while eating hard foods sensitive teeth.
Diagnosis and treatment of gum disease
To properly diagnose your condition, you will need to visit a dentist. During your visit, the dentist will review your medical history to identify risk factors that may be contributing to your symptoms. Your dentist will also thoroughly examine your mouth for key indicators of gum disease, such as easy bleeding and tartar buildup.
After the examination, your dentist will formulate a treatment plan of which the main goal is controlling the infection. Your course of treatment will vary depending on the extent of periodontitis. However, whatever is prescribed by the dentist, a large part of treating the disease will require you to maintain proper daily oral habits such as brushing twice a day and flossing.
Are you looking for a dentist in Slidell?
A healthy mouth is crucial for overall health and well-being. If you are looking for a capable team of dentists to help you prevent or treat gum disease, contact us at Fremaux Dental Care. Our services are designed to help you achieve the healthy smile you’ve always hoped for.