Gum disease occurs when plaque and tartar accumulate on the teeth. The accumulation of plaque and tartar on the teeth irritates the gums, making them inflamed and swollen. Over time, the gums may pull away from the roots of the teeth, causing pockets to form deeper between the teeth and gums. These pockets are very difficult to clean, and plaque and tartar continue to accumulate. Eventually, the gums separate from the teeth, and the teeth become loose.
There are numerous factors that result in gum disease, include:
The most common cause of gum disease is poor dental hygiene. If your daily habits are not up to par, gum disease can develop. It’s essential that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss every day, and visit your dentist regularly for checkups.
Use a toothbrush with fluoride and replace it every 3 months. Make sure you brush twice a day for 2 minutes each time. Be sure to brush along your gum line and switch to a new toothbrush after you’ve been sick.
Inherited medical conditions, such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS, can make gum disease more likely. Medications that treat these medical conditions can also affect your oral health.
For example, medications that treat high blood pressure, heart disease, and depression can cause dry mouth. A dry mouth increases the risk of gum disease because it leaves your teeth vulnerable to bacteria and plaque buildup.
If a family member has diabetes, heart disease, or another condition, make sure they know the risks of gum disease and encourage them to talk to their dentist about ways to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
Smoking has many negative effects on your oral health. In addition to causing bad breath, smoking is one of the most significant risk factors for gum disease. This is because smoking interrupts the normal function of gum tissue cells. As a result, smoking can cause gums to bleed easily and for teeth to appear longer.
Some medications can contribute to gum disease by inhibiting saliva production. Plaque can build up on the teeth more quickly, which increases the risk for gum disease. If you experience dry mouth because of medication, use a fluoride mouthwash to eliminate existing plaque and prevent new plaque from forming.
People with diabetes may have a higher risk of developing gum disease. This is because diabetes lowers your immune system, which makes it harder for your body to fight off infections. Gum disease also makes it more difficult for your body to control blood sugar levels.
Luckily, in most cases, gum disease can be treated and prevented.
Hormones play a role in many health issues, including gum disease. During puberty, for example, young girls may experience changes in their hormone levels. These changes can cause inflammation in the gums, which leads to swollen, red, and/or bleeding gums.
Stress does not directly cause gum disease, but it can trigger the body’s stress response. This can cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, which, in turn, can increase the risk of gum disease and affect your overall health.
Clenching and grinding your teeth can weaken your enamel, cause tooth sensitivity, and irritate your gums. Over time, the irritation can cause gum disease.
At Midtown Dental, we provide tips and solutions that will improve your oral health while transforming smiles. Visit our office, Midtown Dental, at 750 George Washington Way, Richland, WA, Suite 1 99352. You can also reach us at (509) 946-1678.