Gum disease is one of the most serious oral health issues you can face. It has been linked to various health issues that are not limited to the mouth, including heart disease. Gum disease contributes to malnourishment, diabetes, obesity, and the list goes on.
At New Albany Implants, we want you to stay healthy. And a healthy body need healthy gums, so it is important to us that you know what gum disease is and what causes it.
Types of Gum Disease
Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease. In general, gingivitis refers to inflammation of the gums, characterized by irritation and redness. This is usually easily treated and will not cause any problems as long as it is caught early.
Periodontitis, on the other hand, is more serious. If gingivitis is not treated, it could worsen and become infected. When pockets of infection form between the teeth, and your gums begin to recede, the you are showing signs of periodontitis. This could lead to any number of health problems all over your body. As your gums recede and expose the sensitive roots of your teeth, they can become loose, and eventually fall out. Missing teeth make it hard to eat, which, in turn, makes you less healthy and less able to fight off illness.
Causes of Gum Disease
Lack of Oral Hygiene – Poor dental care is one of the leading causes of gum disease. The inflammation that leads to gum disease is started by bacteria in your mouth. Healthy oral hygiene habits will keep these bacteria under control. Brushing removes bacteria from your teeth and gums, and flossing removes it from between your teeth. In fact, the most important thing you can do for your gum health is to brush and floss twice a day.
Tobacco Use – Smoking is bad for you. Everybody knows that. Usually we think about lung cancer and heart disease when we think about the health hazards of smoking, but smoking is also bad for your teeth and gums. Saliva is a very important factor in the fight against bacteria, and smoking causes a dry mouth. A dry mouth has no saliva to protect your teeth and gums, so the bacteria goes to work, and then your gums become inflamed.
E-cigs cause many of the same effect as a traditional cigarette. So, don’t think that you are saving yourself from gum disease by only inhaling nicotine vapor.
Smokeless tobacco causes its fair share of trouble for your gums, too. Chewing tobacco and dip come into direct contact to your teeth and gums, and they leave little pieces of tobacco behind. Bacteria love little pieces of tobacco. A lot of brands of smokeless tobacco also add sugar, which means your teeth and gums are getting a double dose of bacteria boosters.
Hormonal changes – Natural changes in your body’s chemistry, like those associated with puberty, menstruation, and menopause, can decrease your mouth’s natural bacteria-fighting defenses. This could make your gums more susceptible to inflammation. If you feel you are going through some hormonal changes, keep a close eye on your gums.
Prevent Gum Disease
Brush and floss – Strong oral hygiene is the number one protection against gum disease. Keep your mouth clear of bacteria, and don’t forget to brush your tongue because bacteria like to hide out there.
Drink Plenty of Water – As we mentioned, saliva is key to fighting gum disease, and in order to produce plenty of saliva, your body needs to be hydrated.
Drinking water will also help keep your mouth clean. It will wash away bacteria and the bits of food and sugar bacteria love to feast on. You should always keep water with you, and avoid drinking sugary sodas and alcohol, which can actually dehydrate you.
Come into New Albany Implants for a dental examination and we will make sure you are not exhibiting any signs of gum disease. Gum disease is fairly easily treated if caught early, so don’t put off your visit to our Southern Indiana office.
We love keeping our patients feeling good and smiling bright, so contact us today for more information on gum disease, or to schedule an appointment.