Caused by poor oral hygiene, gum disease is a fairly common condition among adults in Canada. Today, our dentists in Winnipeg talk about the ways poor oral hygiene causes gum disease, and what you can do to protect yourself from this condition.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease (periodontal disease) is when the bones and soft tissues that support your teeth become infected. When your dentist mentions gingivitis, they are talking about gum diseases in it's earliest forms, when it is still only affecting the soft tissues.
When this disease advances it starts to infect the bones and supporting structures of your teeth and if it's not treated it can lead to tooth loss.
What causes gum disease?
There are a handful of factors that can increase your risk of getting gum disease, such as the build of bacteria and plaque in your mouth, smoking, hormonal shifts, nutritional deficiencies, some prescription medications, uneven teeth, and genetics.
Bleeding gums are a sign that you could have gum disease, which is why it's important to book an appointment with your dentist if you see your gums bleeding. Because your mouth contains millions of bacteria, a good daily oral hygiene routine is a must - to disrupt the bacteria.
If it's left too long, your body will try to get rid of the undisturbed bacteria by sending more blood to your gums. The extra blood can cause swelling, redness, bleeding, and pain. Your body thinks it has an infection - this is called gingivitis, and it won't heal until the source of the infection 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.
What can I do to avoid gum disease?
There aren't any specific tips and tricks you can use to avoid 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 cause gum disease to develop and thrive. If you maintain a rigorous and thorough oral hygiene routine, it will be very difficult for gum disease to start to take hold.
For example, if you are prone to plaque buildup (maybe from genetics), as long as you brush and floss your teeth twice daily and see your dentist regularly as prescribed for routine professional checkups and cleanings, chances are that gum disease won't be able to completely develop.
Whether you have a hormonal shift due to pregnancy, you take prescription medication, or are a regular smoker, the most common cause of gum disease is the build-up of plaque and bacteria in the mouth.
Most of the time, gum disease can be easily prevented with a good oral hygiene routine. While the issues listed above can increase your risk (and make prevention more challenging), whether it actually develops comes down to the decisions you make every day about your oral health practices.