Gum disease or periodontal disease is the infection and destruction of the tissues and bones that support the teeth. It affects about 30 percent of the adult population
There are several causes of gum diseases but the primary cause is bacterial plaque. Plaque is a soft bacteria-laden substance that layers the teeth and sticks to the gums. Plaque that remains in the teeth hardens overtime and becomes tartar. When this happens, you will not be able to get rid of it through normal brushing and you would need to have it removed by your dentist
Neglect of oral hygiene leads to the accumulation of plaque and tartar, which are major causes of gum diseases. The build of bacteria in plaque and tartar attacks and infects the gums, causing it to become irritated and inflamed. Persons with severe gum disease may eventually loose their teeth.
The risk factors and other causes of gum diseases include:
Smoking weakens the immune system and, therefore, greatly decreases the body’s ability to fight infection, including bacterial infection of the gums. This puts smokers at a much higher risk of developing gum diseases than non-smokers. Smoking also forms tartar and deep pockets around the tooth where bacteria gather. It damages mouth tissue and the bones that support teeth.
Persons under great stress who lack the ability to cope with pressure have a tendency to neglect their hygiene, including dental care. Stress also affects the immune system, weakening a person’s defense against infection.
There are cases when even persons with great dental habits acquire some form of gum disease for the simple reason that it is in their genes. The best help for individuals who are genetically prone to gum diseases is early detection through gene testing.
There are certain periods in life such as during puberty when the body experiences surges of hormones. In women, for instance, hormone level changes during monthly periods and even more so during pregnancy and menopause. During these times, changes in hormones affect the makeup of saliva and bacteria in the mouth, increasing the risk of gum disease.
There are certain drugs that can be causes of gum diseases or may further its development. Some of these drugs are hypertension medicines that block calcium channels, contraceptive pills, steroids and anti-seizure medications that over-stimulate the growth of gum tissue. Long-term use of some antibiotics can cause bacteria to become immune to it. Check with your dentist to find out how a medication can affect your dental health.
Other causes of gum diseases are inadequate intake of nutrients essential to dental health, excessive consumption of sugar and alcohol, and other diseases that target the immune system.
Learning about the causes of gum diseases will better equip you on how to prevent it. You will find that maintaining oral care at home and with your dentist as well as taking care of your immune system are the keys to excellent dental health.