If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think much about your gums. But did you know that gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults? Gum disease is an infection of the gums and bones that support your teeth. It’s important to be aware of the causes of gum disease so you can take steps to prevent it. Patients frequently inquire why they have periodontal disease after learning that they have it.
Why Do People Get Gum Disease?
The reasons for each person are different, but the following are some of the risk factors:
- If you smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco, you are putting yourself at a much higher risk for periodontal disease. This is because tobacco use decreases your ability to fight infection and also interferes with healing. This means that if you have gum disease, it is more likely to be serious enough to cause tooth loss.
- If you have a family history of gum disease, there may be a genetic basis for your increased risk. This means that you may be more susceptible to gum disease even if you take good care of your teeth.
- You are a woman who is going through puberty, menopause, or pregnancy. Because of the hormonal changes that occur throughout all three phases of life, you are at greater risk for periodontal disease.
- You have a serious disease that affects your ability to fight infection, such as uncontrolled diabetes. Gum disease is more likely in these circumstances.
- Too much stress in your life can do more than just wear you down – it also weakens your immune system, making you more susceptible to infection.
- You have an unhealthy diet. Plaque formation on your teeth is aided by a poor diet that includes a lot of carbohydrates and sugary stuff. Not eating enough fruits and vegetables leaves you deficient in vitamins and minerals, which can impact your immune system.
- Drugs that make you more likely to get gum disease include birth control pills, calcium channel blockers (for high blood pressure and heart issues), some seizure medication, chemotherapy medicines, and androgen blockers (used to treat prostate cancer). You should not cease taking your drugs. Make sure your health history is up to date and that your dentist knows what medicines you are currently taking.
- Without flossing, you increase your chances of getting gum disease.
- If you don’t brush your teeth after each meal, you’re at a greater risk of developing gum disease.
- Remember to visit your dental hygienist regularly for professional dental cleanings. Most patients are expected to come in every six months, but if you have gum disease or are at high risk, your appointments may be more often. These appointments are important, so don’t skip them!
I Have Periodontal Disease, Now What?
If you have gum disease, the first step is to see your dentist or periodontist. They will develop a treatment plan that is right for you. Treatment may include professional dental cleanings, scaling and root planing (a deep cleaning), gum surgery, and/or taking antibiotics. You will also be given instructions on how to take care of your teeth at home. It is important to follow these instructions carefully and to keep up with your regular dental appointments. With proper treatment, you can get your gum disease under control and prevent it from getting worse.
How Do You Prevent Gum Disease?
The best way to prevent gum disease is to brush and floss your teeth every day. You should also see your dentist or periodontist regularly for professional dental cleanings. If you have any risk factors for gum disease, be sure to let your dentist know so they can keep an eye on it. And if you do develop gum disease, don’t delay in getting treatment. The sooner you get started on a treatment plan, the better!
Remember, if you are concerned about gum disease, make an appointment with your dentist or periodontist. They will be able to give you a professional opinion and develop a treatment plan that is right for you.