What is gum disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection of the soft tissues and bones that surround and support the teeth. It is also known by its much more common name, gum disease. It can come in several different forms. For example, gingivitis is a mild to moderate form of gum disease that affects only the soft tissues of the mouth and teeth. In more advanced cases of gum disease, the bones and supporting structures of the teeth become infected. If left untreated, this infection can eventually result in tooth loss.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease can be caused by a variety of factors, including bacteria and plaque buildup in the mouth, smoking, hormonal shifts, some prescription medications, nutritional deficiencies, uneven teeth, and even genetics. To reduce your risk of developing gum disease, try to avoid some of the things listed above.
But bear in mind, that 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.
It is much harder to keep your teeth clean if they are uneven because plaque, bacteria, and food debris can gather there much more readily. However, as previously mentioned, if you are diligent in thoroughly brushing and flossing your teeth as well as seeing your dentist on a regular basis, gum disease is unlikely to develop.
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 good news because it shows that gum disease is typically easily avoidable with good oral hygiene practices. The above-mentioned conditions may raise your risk of developing gum disease (and make prevention more challenging), but whether it does so ultimately depends on you.
The best way to prevent gum disease is twice-daily brushing and flossing, and regular visits to your dentist for professional cleaning (for most people, twice a year is should be sufficient).