Gum disease - also known as periodontal disease - is a very common oral health problem among Canadian adults, and it’s often caused by poor oral hygiene. Here, our Comox dentists explain how poor oral hygiene leads to gum disease, and what you can do to avoid the condition.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease (also referred to as periodontal disease) is an infection of the bone and soft tissues that support the teeth. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease ranging from mild to moderate. Gingivitis only affects the soft tissues of your mouth.
More advanced forms of the disease affect bones and supporting structures of the teeth. When left untreated gum disease can eventually lead to tooth loss.
What causes gum disease?
A number of factors can contribute to your risk of developing gum disease, including plaque and bacteria buildup in the mouth, hormonal shifts, smoking, nutritional deficiencies, some prescription medications, uneven teeth and even genetics.
What can I do to avoid gum disease?
There are no real 'tips and tricks' when it comes to avoiding 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.
What this means is that, while you may be prone to plaque buildup - perhaps due to genetics - as long as you brush and floss your teeth twice a day and visit your dentist as prescribed for regular professional cleanings and checkups, chances are that gum disease will not be able to fully develop.
Whether a pregnancy causes a hormonal shift, you take prescription medication, or are a regular smoker, the most common cause of gum disease is the unimpeded development of bacteria and plaque 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 oral health practices.