According to a 2012 study by the American Academy of Periodontology, 46.7% or 64.7 million Americans are suffering from varying degrees of advanced gum disease (periodontitis). The prevalence rates of the disease are higher among 65 years or older people (70.1%). Periodontal diseases are in fact much more complex and it is upon everyone to take the necessary measures to protect their teeth from gum disease.

Types of Gum Diseases

There are two types of diseases, which affect the gums. They include:

  1. Gingivitis
  2. Periodontitis

i. Gingivitis

Gingivitis refers to the inflammation of the gum tissue. The disease has the characteristic red and irritated gums that easily bleed when brushing or flossing the teeth. Gingivitis is caused by poor oral hygiene that can lead to the development of plaque. Plaque is the invisible and sticky substance that develops when the starches and sugar present in food interact with bacteria present in the mouth. The National Institute of Health (NIH) warns that if one fails to remove plaque in time, it develops into a hard substance called tartar. Both plaque and tartar inflame the gums and produce toxins and bacteria that damage the gums resulting in gum disease.

ii. Periodontitis

Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease in which the gums pull away from the teeth. The condition is caused by plaque in the tooth spreading to the gum line. Toxins present in the plaque breaks down the gum tissues and teeth forming spaces called pockets, which are then infected by bacteria. If one fails to seek medical treatment for the condition, the teeth will eventually become lose therefore forcing removal. Besides, periodontitis increases the risks of stroke or heart attack basing on research by Mayo clinic. Periodontitis is also the leading cause of tooth loss in adults based on another study by NIH.

Top 10 Causes and Control of Gum Diseases

1. Poor oral hygiene

The leading cause of gum disease in the world is poor oral hygiene. Failing to brush or floss your teeth after every meal causes the food particles to remain between your teeth. These particles contain starch or sugar, which, binds with the mouth bacteria to form plaque that erodes the gums causing gum infections. The World Health Organization (WHO) further state that poor oral hygiene and insufficient exposure to fluorides have a negative impact on an individual’s oral health.

2. Uncontrolled diabetes

Diabetes is one of the most common causes of gum disease. People with poor blood sugar control are more susceptible to gum infections compared to those who have their blood sugar in control. Most bacteria in the mouth that causes plaques depends on glucose and sugar for their survival. The same sugar is linked to diabetes and poor control of the blood sugar leads to a higher concentration of these sugars. This results to setting up a perfect environment for more bacteria to thrive and cause gum disease through the action of plaques or tartar. In addition, diabetes complications lead to the thickening of blood vessels, which increases the risks of gum disease. These blood vessels are responsible for transporting nutrients to different parts of the body including the mouth and removing the waste products. When poor blood sugar control causes the thickening of the same, blood and waste products carrying is impeded which results in their concentration in the mouth. The waste products provide food to the bacteria which forms plaque that causes gum disease.

3. Some Diseases or Infections i.e. HIV Infection or Nutrient Deficiencies

Some nutritional deficiencies can also cause gum disease. For instance, the absence of enough vitamin C in the body results in weak gums. Their deficiency also makes bacteria or toxins invasions easier as they are less resistant to such attacks. Besides some diseases such as HIV infections contributes to gum disease. According to research by the US Health Resources and Services Administration, a third of HIV-infected people in the US have a major oral health problem (Less than two-thirds of these infected people do not seek treatment). Most people with HIV have mouths with less saliva (dry mouths). Saliva protects the teeth and gums from infections, hence their inadequacy could cause gum disease.

4. Taking Some Medications

Some medications also interact with saliva production in the mouth. The interaction can cause the saliva production to lower leading to a dry mouth. A dry mouth is unusually susceptible to gum infections since the bacteria can spread much easier. You should consult with your doctor whether any of your medications have an effect on your oral health.

5. Hormonal Shifts

During menstrual cycles or pregnancy, hormonal shifts can rise or fall increasing your chances of contracting gum infection. During these times, you should carry out proper dental hygiene to reduce the chances of contracting gum infection.

6. Use of Some Birth Control Pills

Some birth control pills also influence the behavior of hormones on the body. Their influence can cause the rise or fall of hormones, which leads to a hormonal imbalance in the body. The imbalance of the hormones can at times create environments that favor bacteria growth, which leaves the gums susceptible to infections

7. Use of Unfitting or Unclean Mouth Appliances

Using unclean or ill-fitting mouth appliances can lead to the inuring of gums or tissues in the mouth. The wounds resulting from the injuries are a breeding ground for bacteria that causes plaque. The plaque causes gum infections that will damage your gums.

8. Smoking

Smoking interferes with the normal functioning of most cells in the body. The affected cells include gum tissue cells. When the normal functions of the cells are affected, the gums become more vulnerable to infections.

9. Genetics and Inheritance

In case there is a history of gum infections to different members of your family then you may be at risk too. Dentists suggest that one can get gum infections even in the absence of health factors but rather inheritance from the family members.

10. Crooked Teeth

Crooked, overlapping or rotating teeth create a breeding ground for bacteria that causes the gum disease. The reason is that the misalignments in the tooth structure create extra spaces where the plaque can easily accumulate.

Prevention of Gum Disease

  • Practice good oral hygiene i.e. you should brush your teeth at least twice each day and floss once.
  • Control of blood sugar for diabetes patients
  • Use of plaque-removal devices such as toothpicks or special toothbrushes
  • Use of anti-plaque and anti-tartar toothpaste
  • You should seek professional tooth cleaning services at least once every six months
  • Seek treatment from a professional Mansfield dentist

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