10 Causes of Gum Disease That Go Beyond Basic Oral Care
Suppose you consistently invest the short time and effort into the simple routines of maintaining good oral hygiene, doing things like brushing twice daily, and flossing. In that case, you might be peeved (or pleased) to discover that there are other common causes of gum disease.
If you find yourself noticing early indicators of gum disease and tooth decay, this information will help you understand, isolate, and manage ten of its most common causes.
10 Common Causes of Gum Disease
Dental diseases may run in the family
Dental disease can be genetic or heredity and can run in families. If senior members of your family were afflicted with gum disease, your odds of contracting the same are increased. Good at-home dental care will be even more critical for people whose family members had problems with gum disease, and routine dental checkups are advised.
Medications may cause bleeding gums and inflammation.
Prolonged use of many prescription medications can dry out your mouth, allowing germs and bacteria to spread more rapidly. Antacids, cough drops, and liquid medications sweetened with sugar may cause inflammation of the gums.
Smoking slows the body’s healing process and increases the odds of all diseases.
Using tobacco in all forms, whether chewing it or smoking cigarettes or pipes, increases your odds of getting gum disease by two or three times. Vaping and e-cigarette use is no better as far as dental care is concerned. Smoking increases the incidence of oral infection and slows the whole body’s natural healing process. If you are still a smoker, reconsider quitting again now, as the longer you smoke, the more likely the health of your teeth and gums are to be affected by it.
Menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and hormonal shifts.
Women going through menstrual cycles, menopause, or hormonal shifts such as during pregnancy and breastfeeding should take extra care of their teeth and gums as during these times, the gums may be more prone to disease. If you are currently pregnant or are planning on having children, it is advisable to get a dental checkup as periodontal disease has been linked to premature birth.
Nutritional deficiencies contribute to gum disease.
Bleeding gums can be caused by nutritional deficiency, with Vitamin C deficiency being among the most common. This is often easily corrected by maintaining a healthy diet of vitamin and nutrient-rich whole foods, fruits, and vegetables. Beyond deficiencies in specific vitamins, poor nutrition, in general, will impact your body’s ability to fight back and fend off any disease or illness.
The older we get, the more prone we are to gum disease.
As with many other adverse health conditions, we tend to get periodontal diseases more as we get older. By the time we reach our 60s, 70 percent of us will be at risk of getting the most severe forms of gum disease. We can reduce the likelihood of this happening to us by maintaining the best possible oral hygiene daily throughout our older years. The many positive effects of good oral care can be compounded through consistency. Brush and floss daily, and avoid sipping on soft drinks, coffee, and other acidic beverages throughout the day.
Bad brushing habits
Brushing thoroughly for two minutes twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush is vital. People who brush just once daily most often do so in the mornings, leaving plaque and bacteria to wreak havoc during the longest stretch of the day—while we’re asleep in bed. Morning breath is only a sign of the more significant problem. While it might appear that not brushing before bed isn’t too great a concern, since you’re not eating or drinking anything while you sleep, less saliva is being produced throughout the night, which allows bacteria to build up even more.
Forgetting to floss or foregoing it entirely
Brushing gets to the exposed surfaces of the teeth and gums, but what of the contact points and tiny crevices between them? It’s in these areas that bacteria accumulate most and live longest, and by forgetting to floss or foregoing it entirely, we’re inadvertently helping it cause more significant problems. While you may be put off from flossing by the occasional blood you find on your floss, you should keep flossing despite this. If you experience excessive bleeding, contact your dentist.
Poor general health and systemic illness.
All systemic illnesses, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease, can cause or contribute to inflammation that can affect the gums. The effect also goes both ways, with clinical studies finding that gum disease may be a factor in an increase of these same systemic illnesses since harmful bacteria here will travel throughout the body via the lungs and bloodstream.
Battling bad bouts of bacteria.
Certain virulent strains of bacteria are destructive to the gums and teeth, causing bone loss or bleeding. And pain signals may or may not even alert you to this occurring before it is so advanced as to require surgical treatment.
Treating gum disease
While the teeth and gums aren’t always the most exposed and prominent parts of our body, problems here are more than merely cosmetic. Gum disease can affect your ability to enjoy life in a multitude of ways, from making a good meal painful to chew to contributing to systemic infections and even reducing your self-esteem and overall quality of life.
Discussing dental disease is neither fun nor easy. But if it affects you, it’s in your best interest to do so and to do so as soon as possible.
As a master of the dental arts and an accredited member of the American Board of Cosmetic Dentistry and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. John Rink, DDS, AAACD, provides patients throughout Charleston with a wide variety of dental care procedures and dental disease treatment options.