Risk Factors for Gum Disease

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Gum disease is an incredibly common oral condition affecting many individuals. Gum disease is caused by poor dental hygiene, and results in the growth of oral bacteria that feed on carbohydrate remnants left on teeth. These bacteria deposit a metabolic product called plaque on the teeth, which hardens into tartar if not removed. Over time, the presence of bacteria, plaque, and tartar lead to gingivitis, a gum infection that can progress to periodontitis. This is an advanced form of gum disease that can cause irreversible damage to the teeth and gums, and ultimately lead to tooth loss.

While highly preventable through an effective oral hygiene routine, some individuals may be at a higher risk of developing this condition. Some of these risk factors include:

Smoking: Tobacco use, and smoking in particular, is a major risk factor for periodontal disease, and can cause gum and bone damage even when periodontal disease isn't present.

Diabetes: This chronic disease causes pro-inflammatory changes in blood vessels that increase the risk of gum disease and periodontitis, and may exacerbate existing gum disease.

Decreased immunity: When the immune system is comprised, it becomes harder for the body to fight infection. As a result, preexisting conditions can make it more difficult for your body to naturally fight off oral bacteria and may create an environment that is conducive to accelerated plaque growth and eventual gum disease.

Hormonal changes: Menstruation and pregnancy lead to hormonal changes which can exacerbate existing gingivitis. Menopause is also a risk factor as the change in hormone can accelerate the rate of bone loss, which can affect the teeth and jawbone.

Substance abuse: Similar to tobacco use, drug and alcohol abuse can cause untold damage to the teeth and gums. Additionally, addicts have a higher likelihood of neglecting their oral health, further increasing the risk of developing gum disease.

Bite misalignment: Bite misalignment, crowded teeth, and other structural issues can make it difficult for individuals to properly clean their teeth and gums. Leaving behind food debris can contribute to the accelerated development of gum disease causing bacteria.

Poor-fitting restorations: When restorations such as crowns and fillings fit poorly, they create small pockets where bacteria can grow, depositing plaque that is hard to remove.

Gum Disease is a Preventable Condition

While gum disease has potentially serious consequences, it's an easily preventable. With consistent oral hygiene habits including regular brushing and flossing, and biannual dental checkups, you can keep this disease at bay. At Light Dental Studios, our Lakewood dentists offer comprehensive care for preventing and treating gum disease. Contact Light Dental Studios in Lakewood today to schedule your next dental cleaning. 

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