What is gum disease?
The soft tissues and bones that surround and support the teeth can become infected with periodontal disease. The condition is also known by the more common name of gum disease. It can develop in several different forms. For example, gingivitis is a mild to moderate form of gum disease that only affects the soft tissues of the mouth and teeth. In more advanced cases of gum disease, the teeth's bones and supporting structures become infected. Left untreated, this infection can eventually lead to tooth loss.
What causes gum disease?
While a variety of factors can contribute to gum disease, including plaque buildup and bacteria in the mouth, some prescription medications, uneven teeth, smoking, hormonal shifts, nutritional deficiencies and even genetics can increase your risk of developing the condition. To minimize your chance of developing the disease, try to avoid some of the things listed above.
That said, keep in mind that none of these factors on their own can 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 gain a foothold and spread.
For example, while you may be genetically predisposed to plaque buildup, if you brush and floss twice a day and visit your dentist at the intervals they prescribe for your professional cleaning and checkup, your likelihood of developing gum disease will be reduced.
If you have uneven teeth, bacteria, plaque and food debris will accumulate much more easily between them and you'll probably have a more difficult time keeping them clean. However, as previously stated, gum disease is unlikely to develop if you diligently and thoroughly brush and floss your teeth. We also recommend visiting the dentist regularly.
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 means that most of the time gum disease is easily prevented by a good oral hygiene routine. While the above-listed issues can increase the risk of gum disease (and make prevention more difficult), it is ultimately up to you whether it actually develops.
The best way to prevent gum disease is twice-daily brushing and flossing, and regular visits to your dentist for a professional cleaning (for most people, twice a year is should be sufficient).