Risk Factors for Gum Disease

Graphic showing the stages of periodontal or gum disease

Are you concerned about gum disease? At Farmington Dental & Orthodontics in Farmington, AR, we are dedicated to providing you with the best preventive and restorative treatment for gum disease. Here, we’ll discuss the risk factors for gum disease so you can be prepared to combat this dangerous oral health issue.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease occurs when the bacteria in your mouth hardens into plaque, a sticky clear film that forms on your teeth. As plaque builds up on your teeth, you can develop gingivitis, or gum inflammation. This is the first step toward gum disease. If plaque continues to build, you will develop gum disease and the gums will start to pull away from the teeth. Pockets form which can collect debris and promote the grow of bacteria. As the plaque continues to spread along and under the gums, these pockets become infected. If left untreated, gum disease can actually lead to the destruction of gum tissue and bone. When this happens, gums become unable to support your teeth and tooth loss occurs.

What Are Symptoms of Gum Disease?

  • Red or bleeding gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Receding gums
  • Loose and/or sensitive teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Changes in your bite

What Are the Risk Factors for Gum Disease?

If you are a smoker or tobacco user, you are at higher risk of developing gum disease and the longer you use, the higher the risk. Genetics also play a role, with 30% of the population more susceptible to the disease. Pregnant women are also more likely to develop gum disease due to increased hormones. Misaligned, crooked, or crowded teeth can also increase your risk because it’s more difficult to thoroughly clean your teeth and get rid of the plaque. A diet high in sugars and carbs causes an increase in bacteria in your mouth, which can lead to further plaque buildup. Certain medications such as oral contraceptives, anticonvulsants, steroids, calcium channel blockers, and chemotherapy are also risk factors.

How Can You Prevent Gum Disease?

Gum disease is preventable which is why it is vital to come in for regular checkups and professional cleanings so that we can thoroughly rid your mouth of plaque and catch any early signs of gum disease. Habits like brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, flossing at least once a day, and using fluoride toothpaste are also great prevention. A healthy diet that is low in sugar and carbs and high in fiber, minerals, and vitamins will also improve your oral health. It’s also another reason to kick the unhealthy habit of smoking or using tobacco. If you have signs of gum disease, we can help at Farmington Dental & Orthodontics with periodontal treatment. Don’t wait to get it taken care of!

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