If your gums are tender and look swollen and inflamed, you may have the early stages of gum disease – also known as gingivitis. However, if they have started to pull away from your teeth, then it may be more severe than gingivitis. You may have advanced to periodontitis.
Periodontitis is a gum infection that destroys the soft tissue and bone that supports our teeth. Teeth can loosen and fall out.
The more that gum disease progresses, the more of the tissue and bone will end up being destroyed. That is why it is important to have it treated as soon as possible. However, ideally you should try to avoid developing any gum disease in the first place. Prevention has always been a better option than trying to find a cure.
To do that, the first step is knowing what the most common causes of gum disease are.
Allowing Plaque to Buildup
By far the most common cause of gum disease is a buildup of plaque. The bacteria that is in plaque can cause tooth decay as well as irritate your gums and make them inflamed. In time, that will lead to infection and gum disease.
The good news is that it is easy to fix and prevent this problem. All that you need to do is brush and floss your teeth properly on a regular basis. That should prevent plaque from building up in the first place.
Smoking and Chewing Tobacco
Tobacco is bad for you, regardless of whether you chew or smoke it. The substances it contains will interfere with your gum tissue and weaken it, making it more susceptible to gum disease.
Unfortunately there is no way to compensate for this, aside from ditching the habit completely. Simply put; you should quit smoking and chewing tobacco if you want to avoid gum disease, as well as the many other health issues.
Going Through Hormonal Changes
When you go through any hormonal changes, your gums will be more sensitive and vulnerable – which increases the risk of gum disease. Women are mostly at risk, due to the hormonal shifts that occur during menstruation, pregnancy, puberty, and menopause.
Although there is nothing you can do about the root cause of the problem, being aware of it should help you be more careful. As long as you maintain good oral health and react to the first signs of gum disease such as irritation, inflamamation, or bleeding, you should be fine.
Some medical conditions can increase the risk of developing gum disease. Overall, any condition that affects the strength of tissue cells or increases the risk of infection can cause gum disease.
Cancer and HIV, for example, which weaken body’s immune system, significantly increase the risk of developing gingivitis and other types of gum disease. Similarly, people living with diabetes have an increased risk of infection and other complications as well.
Aside from treating the medical condition itself, you should take care that your oral health is impeccable. Be sure to notify your dentist about any medical conditions so that they know and can start gum disease treatment if necessary.
Not Getting Enough Nutrients
If you don’t eat a balanced diet, your body may not get enough nutrients, which may contribute to an increased risk of gum disease. Ideally, your diet should include healthy fats, protein, carbohydrate, minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
The worst type of diet from a gum disease perspective is one that is high in sugar and carbohydrates, as it will likely cause a lot of plaque to buildup. On top of that, if you don’t drink enough water, it will make matters worse.
Seeing as you now know what the main causes of gum disease are, you should be in a better position to avoid them. Aside from good oral health habits, don’t forget to visit your dentist regularly.
Interesting related article: “What I need to know about dental implants.”