What is Gum Disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection of the soft tissues and bones that surround and support the teeth. It also goes by a more well-known name, gum disease. It can be seen in several different forms. For example, gingivitis is a mild to moderate form of gum disease that affects only the soft tissues of the mouth and teeth. In more advanced cases of gum disease, the bones and supporting structures of the teeth become infected. If left untreated, this infection could eventually lead to tooth loss.
What Are the Causes of Gum Disease?
Gum disease can be caused by a variety of factors, including bacteria and plaque buildup in the mouth, smoking, hormonal shifts, some prescription medications, nutritional deficiencies, uneven teeth, and even genetics. You can lower your risk of getting gum disease, by trying to avoid a few of the things mentioned above.
But remember, none of these factors can make gum disease develop and spread through the body by itself. As long as you maintain a rigorous and thorough oral hygiene routine, it will be extremely difficult for gum disease to establish a foothold and spread.
Example: You may be genetically predisposed to plaque buildup; however, if you brush and floss twice a day, in addition to visiting your dentist at prescribed intervals for a professional cleaning and checkup, the likelihood of developing gum disease is reduced.
If you have uneven teeth, plaque, bacteria, and food debris that accumulates much more easily in the spaces between them, it makes it much more difficult to keep them clean. However, as previously stated, gum disease is unlikely to develop if you are diligent in brushing and flossing your teeth thoroughly, as well as visiting your dentist on a regular basis.
The Most Common Cause of Gum Disease
Whether you are having a hormonal shift (perhaps a pregnancy), smoking regularly, or are on prescription medications, gum disease is primarily caused by the unhampered growth of plaque and bacteria in the mouth.
This is actually good news because it means that most of the time gum disease is easily prevented by a good oral hygiene routine. While the issues stated above can put you at a higher risk for gum disease (and make prevention more difficult), it is ultimately up to you whether it actually develops.
The best way to prevent gum disease is by brushing and flossing twice a day and visiting your dentist regularly for professional cleanings (for most people, twice a year should be sufficient).