What is gum disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection of the soft tissues and bones surrounding and supporting your teeth. It is also known by a much more recognizable name: gum disease.
Periodontal disease can come in several different forms, from mild and moderate affecting only the soft tissues surrounding the teeth, to more severe infections that may result in infection of teeth and their supporting structures. If left untreated, this infection can eventually result in tooth loss.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease may be caused by a variety of factors, including bacteria and plaque buildup in your mouth, hormonal shifts, smoking and some prescription medications, nutritional deficiencies and even genetics. In order to reduce your risk of developing gum disease, try to avoid some of the things listed above.
But bear in mind, none of these factors can, on their own, cause gum disease to develop and spread throughout the body. As long as you maintain a rigorous and thorough oral hygiene routine, it will be extremely difficult for gum disease to establish a foothold and spread.
Example: You may be genetically predisposed to plaque buildup; however, if you brush and floss twice a day, in addition to visiting your dentist at prescribed intervals for a professional cleaning and checkup, the likelihood of developing gum disease is reduced.
If you have uneven or misaligned teeth, bacteria and plaque can accumulate alongside food debris much more easily, making it more difficult to keep them clean. As previously stated, however, gum disease is unlikely to develop if you are diligent in maintaining your oral hygiene routine and visiting your dentist on a regular basis.
The Most Common Cause of Gum Disease
Whether you are experiencing a hormonal shift (perhaps a pregnancy), are a regular smoker, or take a prescription medication, gum disease is ultimately caused by the unimpeded development of bacteria and plaque in the mouth.
This is actually quite good news! It means that most of the time, gum disease is easily prevented by a good oral hygiene routine. While some of the issues listed above can increase the risk of gum disease and make prevention more difficult, it's ultimately up to you whether or not gum disease has a chance to develop.
The best way to prevent gum disease is twice-daily brushing and flossing, and regular visits to your dentist for a professional cleaning (for most people, twice a year is should be sufficient).