Gum disease is an infection of the gums, which affects the tissue that surrounds the teeth. It is caused by plaque buildup around and under the gum line. Plaque is a sticky film that builds up on the surfaces of your teeth when bacteria are present. Bacteria in plaque produce toxins that can damage the gums and eventually cause tooth loss if left untreated. If your gums are red and swollen or bleeding when you brush, you may have the beginning stages of gum disease.
Gum disease can occur due to a number of reasons, such as:
Sometimes, gum disease occurs as a result of poor oral care at home. If you're brushing and flossing your teeth every day but notice your gums are still red and swollen, you might be doing more harm than good. If you aren't taking enough care to remove plaque from your teeth, you might find that bacteria can get trapped under the gums and cause infection.
If plaque isn't removed, it hardens into a substance called tartar, which can be nearly impossible to remove at home. Tartar buildup can lead to gum disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
Your genetics can impact your risk for gum disease. If your parents or grandparents had poor oral health, you're likely to have the same condition. However, this doesn't mean that you can't take steps to protect your oral health. If you have a family history of periodontal disease, be sure to practice good oral hygiene at home, and visit our office for a professional cleaning twice a year.
Tobacco products contain nicotine, which can make gums and oral soft tissues inflamed and vulnerable to infection. Nicotine can even reduce the flow of blood to the gums, compromising their healing abilities. For patients who smoke or use tobacco products, quitting smoking can significantly reduce the risk of gum disease and tooth loss. If you're currently a smoker and want help to quit, ask your dentist about smoking cessation techniques. They may suggest medications or counseling make it easier for you. Tobacco users should also commit to regular visits to the dentist for deep cleanings and dental exams to monitor oral health.
Many systemic medications can cause gum inflammation or periodontal disease. Some medications can interfere with saliva production, which is important for naturally protecting teeth and gums from bacteria, plaque, and acid.
Examples of drugs that can cause gum disease include blood pressure pills, cancer medication, diabetes medication, steroids, osteoporosis medications, birth control pills, antidepressants, cholesterol-lowering medications, and acne medication.
If you experience any symptoms of gum disease while taking one of these medications, talk to your dentist.
After a woman gives birth, her body goes through hormonal changes, and this can lead to gum disease. During pregnancy, the body experiences an increase in progesterone and estrogen production. These hormones can soften the ligaments that support the teeth, leading to loose teeth. It is important for new mothers to practice good oral hygiene to prevent oral health problems for themselves and their babies.
To learn more about our dental services, call Texas Sage Dentistry at (972) 562-0197 to schedule your one-on-one consultation with top McKinney, TX dentist Dr. Barret Davidson today!