Gum disease affects nearly half of the American population and can wreak havoc on your smile.
Although it affects your gums, your gums are essential for your teeth. When the gum tissue gets
damaged through gum disease, teeth can become loose and fall out.
The main causes of gum disease are usually easy to control and you can minimize your risk for
gum disease simply by taking care of them. What are some of the main causes of gum disease
and how can you minimize your risk?
Plaque Is the Number One Cause
Plaque is that colorless sticky substance that forms on your teeth a few hours after brushing. It
can make teeth feel “fuzzy” and is easily removed through regular brushing. Plaque is the
number one cause of gum disease when it’s not properly removed.
Brushing is the best way to remove plaque; however, many people don’t brush all the possible
surface areas of their teeth. If you neglect to floss, you’re missing nearly 50% of your mouth: all
the spaces in between your teeth are still subject to damage from plaque. Plaque can eat away
at tooth enamel and cause decay. If not removed, it can harden into tartar which can only be
professionally removed by a dentist.
Plaque eventually irritates the gum tissue and can cause your immune system to respond. As a
result, an infection can form which can cause a bad smell, bleeding, and sensitivity in your
mouth. These are all signs of gum disease!
Crowded Teeth or Teeth Grinding
When you aren’t able to clean your teeth properly due to crowding, this increases your risk for
gum disease. Fortunately, crowded teeth can be fixed through orthodontic treatment, which
will make it easier for you to clean your smile and remove all the plaque. In the meantime, visit
your dentist for a professional cleaning to help.
If you grind your teeth, this can cause trauma to your gums. Teeth grinding can cause gums to
become irritated and inflamed. Eventually the amount of pressure put on your teeth can cause
damage to ligaments that help anchor your teeth, which will lead to loose teeth.
Smoking and Poor Nutrition
If you smoke or chew tobacco, you have an increased risk of gum disease. Tobacco can cause
dry mouth and smokers have higher incidences of tartar. Patients who smoke also tend to have
gum disease that progresses faster and more severely than those who don’t smoke.
Poor nutrition also influences gum disease. Eating lots of processed foods as well as sugar can
cause bacteria to build up. This can lead to more plaque which will need to be removed through
careful brushing. Eating fresh, crunchy foods can actually help remove plaque and keep your
mouth moist, which cuts down on plaque growth.
Knowing the causes of gum disease can help you to avoid them. Always brush, floss, and visit
your dentist to cut down on plaque and keep your smile healthy. Seek orthodontic treatment if
you need it as well as treatment for teeth grinding. Quitting smoking and eating healthy can
help you avoid gum disease. You can have healthy gums to support your pearly whites for life!