Periodontal disease is the infection of the structures around the teeth with bacteria. Common early signs of the disease include swollen and bleeding gums. If left untreated, periodontal disease can destroy the structures that support your teeth in the jaw bone, causing your teeth to become so loose they have to be removed. Here are some factors that put you at risk.
Do you practice good hygiene?
Good dental hygiene is key to preventing and possibly reversing periodontal disease. You want to be sure to be brushing twice daily and flossing at least once a day in order to keep your mouth healthy and to ward away harmful bacteria that will breed in the hidden pockets between the teeth.
Poor dental hygiene, caused from not brushing and flossing regularly, will cause bacteria to create a sticky plaque on the teeth, which irritates and inflames the gums. This will cause the gum and bone to pull away from the tooth. This creates pockets that form and can hold debris and bacteria. The toxins the bacteria creates can wear away your bone and gum tissue, compounding the process. By simply brushing and flossing each day you can prevent ever developing periodontal disease.
Are you experiencing hormonal changes?
Changes in hormones make your gums more sensitive to bacteria and plaque. This is especially meaningful for women going through hormonal changes during menopause. Be sure to maintain your daily dental routine and keep going to regular checkups to stay ahead of any changes in your oral health. You don’t want to be taken by surprise!
Are you taking medication?
Medications can increase the chance of developing periodontal disease, as they may interfere with the gum’s sensitivity to bacteria and plaque, affecting how well they recover and how much saliva is being produced. Saliva naturally protects the teeth, and a dry mouth increases the chance of developing dental problems. Be sure to drink plenty of water to help keep your body hydrated and your mouth lubricated.
Are you ill?
Illness can dramatically affect your body’s ability to fight off infections, like any illness that stresses or compromises the immune system will increase your risk of gum disease. Chronic diseases, like diabetes and cancer, can make it so your immune system is not able to fight off both diseases at the same time. Be sure to keep your daily dental health routine going as much as you can during times of illness.
Does a family member have periodontal disease?
Genetics plays a large roll in how your teeth and gums form and how your immune system reacts. If you have a natural predisposition to getting gum disease or other oral health issues, you may develop periodontal disease even while practicing good hygiene.
Family members tend to mimic habits, so be sure that your family environment is one that is conducive to promoting good dental hygiene.
How’s your diet?
A poor diet high in sugars and fats will give the bacteria in your mouth ample food to breed and grow. Be sure you eat well to feed your body and keep your immune system strong. Eating foods that are acidic and high in sugar will cause even further breakdown of your teeth, allowing bacteria to grow and feed much easier than in a healthier diet environment.
These are just some of the factors that can contribute to your chances of getting periodontal disease. If you are concerned you are at risk, talk with your dentist about what next steps are best for you.