What is gum disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and supporting tissues of the teeth. Additionally, it is referred to by the much more common term, gum disease. It can take on a variety of forms. For instance, gingivitis is a mild to moderate form of gum disease that primarily affects the mouth's soft tissues and teeth. Gum disease progresses to the point where the tooth's bones and supporting structures become infected. This infection, if left untreated, can eventually result in tooth loss.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease is caused by a variety of factors, including oral bacteria and plaque buildup, smoking, hormonal changes, certain prescription medications, nutritional deficiencies, uneven teeth, and even genetics. Avoid some of the things listed above to reduce your risk of developing gum disease.
However, keep in mind that none of these factors can cause gum disease to develop and spread throughout the body on its own. As long as you follow a rigorous and thorough oral hygiene routine, gum disease will have a difficult time establishing a foothold and spreading.
For instance, you may be genetically predisposed to plaque buildup; however, by brushing and flossing twice daily and visiting your dentist at prescribed intervals for a professional cleaning and checkup, you can reduce your risk of developing gum disease.
If your teeth are uneven, plaque, bacteria, and food debris accumulate much more easily in the spaces between them, making cleaning them much more difficult. As previously stated, gum disease is unlikely to develop if you are diligent about thoroughly brushing and flossing your teeth, as well as visiting your dentist regularly.
The Most Common Cause of Gum Disease
Whether you are going through a hormonal change (such as pregnancy), are a chronic smoker, or are taking a prescription medication, gum disease is ultimately caused by the unchecked growth of bacteria and plaque in the mouth.
This is good news because it means that gum disease can be prevented in the majority of cases with a good oral hygiene routine. While the aforementioned factors can increase your risk of developing gum disease (and make prevention more difficult), ultimately, it is up to you whether it develops.
The best way to prevent gum disease is twice-daily brushing and flossing, and regular visits to your dentist for professional cleaning (for most people, twice a year is should be sufficient).