Thursday, June 23, 2016

Risk Factors of Gum Disease

Gum disease, which is also known as periodontal disease – is a progressive condition that can cause gums to become inflamed with infection and rapidly develop causing a host of other issues, including loose teeth, or even causing teeth to fall out. Gum disease is extremely common – one out of every two American adults aged 30 and over has the silent disease which has been medically linked with systemic health conditions.

What Puts You at Risk?

The impact gum disease can have on health increases as the disease progresses. Damage caused by the first stage, gingivitis, is both treatable and reversible. Routine exams help to detect gingivitis, an important aspect to having a family dentist who understand your medical and family oral health history.

There are certain risk factors which leave some people more prone to the disease than others. These include:

  • A family history of gum disease
  • Inadequate dental health habits, not brushing and flossing regularly
  • Lack of professional care and cleanings
  • Diabetes
  • Use of tobacco products
  • Age
  • Compromised or decreased immune system, patients with conditions impacting immunity such as HIV/AIDS, leukemia, or those undergoing chemotherapy
  • Inadequate or poor nutrition
  • Specific medications and drug use/abuse
  • Pregnancy
  • Bite and alignment conditions

Thankfully, gum disease is also preventable and treatment of the disease, particularly when caught early on, can be as simple as a few professional cleanings, and improving at-home care. If you condition has progressed past gingivitis to periodontal disease, continued maintenance cleanings are strongly suggested by your dentist to maintain oral health and prevent reoccurrence.

Watching for Signs of Gum Disease

Stage 1- Gingivitis- During this stage, the inflammation and bacteria infiltrate the soft gum tissue, colonizing in pockets along the gum line at the bottom of the teeth. Signs of the disease include red, swollen gums that are tender or painful, and prone to bleeding when brushed or flossed.

Stage 2 – Periodontitis - Gums then start to recede and pull away from the teeth, giving them an elongated appearance. The tenderness can extend to pain when eating, or a persistent soreness that may be accompanied by loose or separating teeth.

Stage 3 – Advanced Periodontitis – This advanced periodontal disease stage may have sores can develop, pus may gather between the gums and teeth, and bad breath can become a daily problem. The bite may also be affected and people notice a greater presence of pain when using their mouth.

If you are concerned about having gum disease or have not seen your dentist for more than six months, contact Dr. Lawrence Bauman and schedule an appointment.

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