What is gum disease?
Periodontal disease is an infection of the soft tissues and bones surrounding and supporting the teeth. Gum disease is another, much more common name for it. It can take many different forms. Gingivitis, for example, is a mild to moderate form of gum disease that only affects the soft tissues of the mouth and teeth. In more advanced cases of gum disease, the teeth's bones and supporting structures become infected. If left untreated, this infection can lead to tooth loss.
What causes gum disease?
Gum disease can be caused 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. To reduce your risk of developing gum disease, try to avoid some of the things listed above.
But bear in mind, that none of these factors can, on their own, cause gum disease to develop and spread throughout the body. As long as you maintain a rigorous and thorough oral hygiene routine, it will be extremely difficult for gum disease to establish a foothold and spread.
Example: You may be genetically predisposed to plaque buildup; however, if you brush and floss twice a day, in addition to visiting your dentist at prescribed intervals for a professional cleaning and checkup, the likelihood of developing gum disease is reduced.
If you have uneven teeth, plaque, bacteria, and food debris accumulate much more easily in the spaces between them, making cleaning them much more difficult. However, as previously stated, gum disease is unlikely to develop if you brush and floss your teeth thoroughly and see your dentist on a regular basis.
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 gum diseases can be avoided with a good oral hygiene routine. While the issues listed above can increase the risk of gum disease (and make prevention more difficult), whether or not it develops is ultimately up to you.
The best way to prevent gum disease is twice-daily brushing and flossing, and regular visits to your dentist for professional cleaning (for most people, twice a year should be sufficient).