Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Risk Factors of Gum Disease

Gum, or periodontal, disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth, and can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. It’s a common issue, with many adults in the U.S. suffering from this disease in varying degrees of severity, ranging from gum inflammation to major tooth loss and bone damage.

What causes gum disease? 

There’s no mystery surrounding what causes gum disease- you can most often blame the plaque and tarter on your teeth. When plaque and tarter linger, and aren’t properly cleaned and removed from your mouth, they can cause inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), resulting in gums that are oversensitive, swollen, and bloody.

Thankfully, gingivitis is reversible and can be corrected by regular dental cleanings and proper oral care; however, if it’s left untreated, it can turn into periodontal disease, which is much more serious and can ultimately cause destruction to healthy teeth and tissue.

What increases your odds of developing gum disease? 

There are several risk factors that can increase your chances of developing gum or periodontal disease. If you’re aware of what the risks include, you will be better equipped to avoid them, with the exception of genetic risks (yes, unfortunately some people are just born with an increased risk of gum disease).

The risks for gum disease include:

  • Smoking or using tobacco products- Do you use cigarettes or snuff? Here’s another reason to quit now: it dramatically increases your risk of gum disease. 
  • Hormonal changes- Women who are pregnant or experiencing hormonal shifts for other reasons will have gums that are more sensitive, thereby increasing their risk of gum disease. 
  • Illnesses and medications- If you suffer from an illness such as AIDS or diabetes, or take certain medications, you may experience dry mouth or abnormal growth of gum tissue, all of which increase your risk of gum disease. 

Many people don’t experience symptoms of gum disease until they enters their 30s or 40s, and men are at an increased risk, but everyone is susceptible and should work to follow a good oral health routine and avoid factors that could put them at risk.

Symptoms of gum disease 

While many people with gum disease experience no symptoms, there are a few telltale signs that should alert you that you need to see a dentist. These symptoms include:

  • Bad breath that won’t go away 
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth that hurt when you chew 
  • Receding gums 

Don’t let gum disease ruin your smile. Make an appointment today with your Roseville dentist, Dr. Ronald Rasi to get you on the path to rid gum disease and maintain improved oral health.

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