Are You at Risk for Gum Disease?

Tooth With CavitiesMore than 60 million American adults, studies suggest, have some form of gum disease. This refers to the infection of the tissues that support and surround the teeth. The buildup of plaque or the sticky film of bacteria that form in the mouth usually causes gum disease. This can happen if you don’t brush or floss your teeth daily.

Apart from poor oral hygiene, other conditions can raise your susceptibility to gum disease.  Here are the other risk factors:

  • Smoking – Cigarette or tobacco use increases not only your risk for serious conditions, like lung disease and cancer, but also for periodontal disease. Research also suggest that the habit can interfere with the successful treatment of the said disease.
  • Certain medications – South Bend family dentistry centers note that some drugs can reduce saliva flow, leading to dry mouth and allowing the bacteria to linger in your mouth. These may include antidepressants, oral contraceptives, cancer therapy drugs, and some heart medicines.
  • Genetics – Genes also play a factor in periodontal disease, making some more susceptible than others. This means that despite proper oral care habit, they may still develop the disease. A genetic test can help, especially for early intervention treatment.
  • Systemic diseases –  Diabetes, for instance, is considered a risk factor, as it can affect your body’s ability to fight infections like gum disease. The same is also true for other health conditions that affect the inflammatory system such as rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease.
  • Hormonal fluctuations – Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that make the gums more sensitive to plaque. This is what makes women prone to “pregnancy gingivitis.” This can cause the gums to become red swollen, tender, or bleed when brushing or flossing.
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Don’t let gum disease compromise your smile. Note that if gum disease is left untreated, the gum and the supporting bone will deteriorate, resulting in gum recession or tooth loss. Be sure to brush and floss your teeth every day, and use a mouthwash to reduce bacterial plaque. Don’t forget to know your risk and consult a dentist for checkups and cleaning.