Gum disease is a fairly common dental health condition among adults in Canada, which is generally caused by poor dental health habits. Today our dentists in Parksville discuss the ways poor oral hygiene can cause gum disease, and how you can avoid developing this dental condition.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease can also be called periodontal disease. This condition is an infection in the bones and soft tissues that support your teeth. If you have ever heard your dentist use the term gingivitis they are referring to gum diseases in its mildest or most moderate form. When gum disease is in these earlier stages it is only affecting the soft tissues.
When this disease becomes more advanced it's infecting the bones and supporting structures of teeth, which could eventually cause tooth loss if it's left untreated.
How do people get gum disease?
Various elements can increase your risk of getting gum disease, including the buildup of plaque and bacteria in your mouth, smoking, hormonal shifts, nutritional deficiencies, several prescription medications, uneven teeth, as well as genetics.
Bleeding gums are a sign that you might have gum disease, which is why you should book an appointment with your dentist if you see your gums bleeding. Because your mouth contains millions of bacteria it's important to keep up great oral hygiene every day in order to disrupt the bacteria.
If gum disease goes too long untreated, your body will try to get rid of the undisturbed bacteria itself by sending more blood to your gums. The excess blood can cause swelling, soreness, bleeding, and redness. Your body could think it has an infection - this is called gingivitis, and it won't heal until the source is eliminated.
Bacteria can be found in plaque, tartar, or calculus, pockets beneath the gums (in cases of advanced gum disease), cavities, abscesses, and chipped teeth. They may also hide in old dental work, as repairs to your teeth create an edge or margin that bacteria can adhere to.
How can I avoid gum disease?
There are no specific 'tips and tricks' when it comes to avoiding gum disease. The best way to avoid developing gum disease is to maintain good oral hygiene habits, plain and simple.
None of the above-listed factors alone can make gum disease develop and thrive. If you maintain a rigorous and thorough oral hygiene routine, it will be very difficult for gum disease to take hold.
For example, while you may be prone to plaque buildup (perhaps due to genetics), as long as you brush and floss your teeth twice a day and visit your dentist as prescribed for regular professional cleanings and checkups, chances are that gum disease will not be able to fully develop.
Whether a pregnancy causes a hormonal shift, you take prescription medication or are a regular smoker, the most common cause of gum disease is the unimpeded development of bacteria and plaque in the mouth.
In most situations, gum disease can easily be prevented simply by maintaining a good oral hygiene routine. While the conditions we mentioned above can increase your risk of gum disease (and make prevention more challenging), whether it actually develops narrows down to the decisions you make daily regarding your oral health practices.