Gum disease is a very common problem among Canadian adults, and it is most often caused by poor oral hygiene. Here, our Winnipeg dentists discuss how poor oral hygiene causes gum disease, and what can be done about it.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) is an infection of the soft tissues and bone that support the teeth. Mild or moderate gum disease is most often referred to as gingivitis, and affects only the soft tissues. More advanced gum disease infects the bones and supporting structures of the teeth, and can eventually lead to tooth loss if left untreated.
What causes gum disease?
Your risk of developing gum disease can be increased by a variety of factors, including bacteria and plaque buildup in the mouth, smoking, hormonal shifts, some prescription medications, nutritional deficiencies, uneven teeth, and even genetics.
However, none of these factors alone can cause gum disease to develop and flourish. As long as you maintain a rigorous and thorough oral hygiene routine, it will be very difficult for gum disease to take hold.
For example, you may be prone to plaque build up (perhaps because of genetics), but as long and you brush and floss twice a day, and visit your dentist at prescribed intervals for a professional cleaning and checkup, chances are that gum disease will not be able to fully develop.
If you have uneven teeth, it can be much easier for plaque, bacteria and food debris to build up in the crevices between them. But again, as long as you are careful to brush and floss thoroughly, and visit your dentist on a regular basis, gum disease most likely will not develop.
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 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 sufficient).