Nearly half of American adults have some form of gum disease, and the risk only gets higher as you age. With that in mind, it’s important to know the risk factors for gum disease as well as what you can do about it. Risk factors can vary, but protection begins with regular brushing, flossing, and visits to My Family Dentistry for cleanings and checkups.
The biggest risk factor for gum disease is poor oral hygiene. Crooked or misaligned teeth can also increase your risk since they make it harder to clean your teeth. Tobacco use in any form can increase your risk due to its effect on your immune system. Women have a higher risk due to pregnancy and menopause, while men have an increased risk due to swollen gums from medication. Poor nutrition can also be a factor, such as foods and drinks high in carbs and sugars and not enough fruits and veggies.
Risk Factors for Gum Disease
The biggest risk factor for gum disease is not practicing good oral hygiene. For the best defense, make sure that you’re:
- Brushing for two minutes, twice per day
- Flossing once per day
- Visiting My Family Dentistry for checkups and cleanings every 6 months
Having a complete oral care routine will help prevent plaque buildup which can lead to developing gum disease. Coming in for cleanings and checkups are especially important since they give Dr. Wes Mulllins and Dr. Austin Owen the opportunity to check for any other problems that you may be having besides gum disease.
Poor oral care isn’t the only cause of gum disease. There are plenty of other factors that can greatly increase your risk, potentially leading to major oral health problems later on. With regular cleanings and checkups
These factors include:
- Crooked or misaligned teeth
- Tobacco use
- Hormonal changes
- Certain types of medicine
- Poor nutrition
Crooked or Misaligned Teeth
Also known as occlusal disease, crooked or misaligned teeth can help contribute to developing gum disease. This is because they, can make it difficult to clean between your teeth. It can also significantly increase your risk of tooth decay as well as make you feel less confident in your smile.
At My Family Dentistry, we offer a variety of solutions to prevent gum disease and other issues caused by crooked or misaligned teeth. One popular choice is Invisalign, which uses clear plastic trays to gradually correct the position of your teeth. Not only does it help protect you from gum disease, but it provides you with the smile that you’ve always dreamed of.
Click here to learn more about how Invisalign can help you!
Tobacco use such as cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco wreak havoc on your oral health. As the CDC explains, this is because smoking weakens your immune system, causing the tissue cells in your gums to not work correctly. This makes it harder for your body to fight infections due to impaired blood flow to your gums.
Pregnancy and menopause have huge effects on women’s hormones. For example, it’s not uncommon for women to experience pregnancy gingivitis, which is a mild form of the disease.
It can cause pregnant womens’ gums to become:
Fortunately, this form of gum disease can be fought with meticulous oral care. In some cases, it’s even recommended to see your dentist more often in your second and early-third trimesters.
Women also face unique oral health challenges during menopause. They can often experience:
- Altered taste
- Increased sensitivity
- Burning sensations
However, the two biggest changes during this time are dry mouth and bone loss. Dry mouth is a problem since saliva helps rinse your teeth and get rid of bacteria, and a lack of it can lead to cavities. Lower amounts of estrogen can cause bone loss, which can also lead to tooth loss.
Talk to Dr. Wesley Mullins or Dr. Austin Owen if you’re at either of these stages in life. They’ll work with you to develop a comprehensive plan that protects your teeth.
For more about what causes gum disease, click here!
Certain Types of Medicine
Certain medications can lead to gingival overgrowth — a condition where gum tissue builds up more than normal. Swollen gums make the perfect environment for gum disease-causing bacteria that will eventually damage the teeth and jaw bone. This condition tends to be more common in men.
Common medications that cause swollen gums include phenytoin for seizures and cyclosporine to aid in organ transplants. Calcium channel blockers for blood pressure can also lead to swollen gums. Make sure to talk to one of our dentists if you take:
Dentists may recommend more frequent visits (around every 3 months) along with brushing and flossing to combat this issue.
Just like your teeth need certain vitamins and minerals to stay healthy, so do your gums. Start by avoiding sugary foods and refined carbs. Plaque-causing bacteria that lead to gum disease loves these types of foods and thrive where they’re plentiful.
You should also eat a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. This includes lots of vegetables, nuts, and fruits. By eating a diverse diet, you’re helping to ensure your body gets everything it needs to support your gums as well as your overall health.
Do you need gum disease treatment in Knoxville, TN? Contact us today to schedule your appointment!
Poor oral care is the biggest risk factor for gum disease. It can also be the result of crooked or misaligned teeth, which are harder to clean. Using tobacco in any form harms your immune system, increasing your risk of infection. Pregnancy and menopause in women lead to increased risk while men have a higher chance of developing it through swollen gums. Eating foods high in sugar or carbs creates the ideal habitat for gum disease-causing bacteria.
My Family Dentistry is open Monday through Thursday. Give us a call at (865) 947-6453 or you can schedule an appointment online.