Gum disease causes range from lifestyle choices to genetic inheritance, and one of the problems with treating gum disease is that it can go unnoticed. Regular dental checkups and conversations about your family medical history are important in determining causes that may affect you, and in helping your dentist spot the early signs.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is when the tissues around the teeth become infected. It is caused when bacteria form plaque on the teeth and doesn't tend to hurt, which can mean some patients don't spot the common symptoms. In the early stages, gum disease manifests as gingivitis, which triggers swollen, red or bleeding gums. If it is identified early, dentists can treat gingivitis relatively easily, which prevents periodontal disease from developing at all. Unfortunately, gum disease is a now a common reason for tooth loss amongst adults.
What are the common causes?
Poor oral hygiene – A lack of oral hygiene is the most common cause of periodontal disease. Patients who do not brush and floss their teeth on a regular basis risk having plaque build up on the teeth. Plaque contains many bacteria that can cause tooth decay and irritate the gums, leaving them open to infection.
Smoking – Tobacco increases the risk of developing periodontal disease and smoking can make treatment less effective. Smoking makes the immune system weaker, which means it is more difficult to ward off an infection around the teeth and for the body to heal itself. The risk factor of gum disease increases for those who smoke more frequently or over a longer period of time.
Genetics – Genetic predisposition may make around 30 per cent of people more susceptible to gum disease, say The Natural Dentist. Of cases currently being seen by dentists, it is thought that about half may be attributable to inherited biology.
Diabetes – Although diabetes is not necessarily a cause, diabetics are more susceptible to gum disease. Additionally, gum infection can make it hard to control blood glucose levels.
Oral hygiene and healthy gums are important in preventing disease. Call City Dentists on 04 978 4964 or book an appointment online to ensure any problems are identified early.