Causes of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal (gum) disease is a progressive disease that can result in damaged gums, damaged jaw bone, and tooth loss. Periodontal disease is caused by plaque bacteria that cause infection when not removed. Inflamed and irritated gums around the teeth are the first sign of periodontal disease. The infection spreads and the bacteria begin damaging gum tissue, causing pockets to form between the teeth and gums. You may notice your gums begin to recede. Early periodontal disease is reversible, but if not taken care of early, the disease can worsen and destroy your gums, jaw bone, and make you lose teeth. Infectious bacteria can even travel to other parts of the body through the bloodstream.
There are many reasons gum disease may develop. Some simple at-home care can really help eliminate the risk of getting gum disease.
Common causes of gum disease
Poor dental hygiene: When you neglect to brush, floss and rinse, you are leaving harmful bacteria all over your mouth. This bacteria spreads and sticks to the teeth and gums. Taking care of your teeth at home as well as seeing your dental hygienist every six months for a cleaning is extremely important to your overall oral health.
Tobacco use: Tobacco users are a lot more likely to have plaque and tartar buildup. Excessive plaque also means they are more likely to develop gum disease. Their symptoms also can progress much faster and worse. On top of all that, tobacco users will recover and heal slower than non-tobacco users.
Genetics: Some people are predisposed to gum disease because of their genetics. These people are up to six times more likely to develop gum disease. If you are more likely to develop gum disease, make sure to take extra precautions and practice good oral care at home on top of regular dentist visits.
Pregnancy and menopause: Hormonal changes can make your gums more sensitive. This makes you more susceptible to gum disease. Making sure to brush and floss is extremely important during hormonal changes to minimize your risk of disease.
Chronic stress and poor diet: Stress will lower your immune system’s ability to fight off infection. This makes the plaque bacteria more likely to cause periodontal disease. Malnutrition is also not good for the health of your teeth and gums.
Underlying medical issues: Diabetes, respiratory disease, heart disease, arthritis, and osteoporosis are all diseases that can contribute to causing or worsening gum disease.
Grinding teeth: Regularly grinding and/or clenching your teeth can damage their supporting structures. An individual suffering from gum disease will a quicker progression of the disease due to the damage done to the gum tissue by grinding the teeth.
Medication: Many different prescriptions drugs including heart medicines, anti-depressants, oral contraceptive pills and steroids can negatively impact oral health. Look up the side effects of your medication to see if it affects oral health, making you more susceptible to gum disease.
Treatment of Gum Disease
Periodontics is a branch of dentistry that specializes in periodontal disease, specifically affected gums and jawbone. A periodontist can help prevent, diagnose, and treat inflammatory gum disease. They will do deep cleans under the gumline to remove any trapped plaque and tartar. Periodontists can treat cases ranging from early gum disease or gingivitis to necrotizing periodontitis (the most severe form of gum disease) using various methods. They also specialize in dental implants and other regenerative procedures to restore teeth back to their normal look.
Contact our office if you have any questions about gum disease.