Gum disease is a serious infection that affects your gums and the tissue that surrounds and supports your teeth. If left untreated, gum disease can eventually lead to tooth loss. Risk factors for gum disease include:
In addition to causing tooth loss, gum disease can also lead to serious health problems like heart disease and stroke. However, treating gum disease also improves your overall oral health. Visiting your dentist for cleanings and checkups every six months can help catch and treat gum disease early to improve your overall health and prevent future complications.
Smoking and other forms of tobacco use can nearly double your risk for gum disease! Smokers are six times more likely than non-smokers to develop periodontal problems. This is because smoking damages the soft tissue in the mouth, allowing bacteria to reach below the gum line.
Quitting tobacco will protect your health, including your oral health!
If you’re genetically likely to experience gum disease, it’s not too late to intervene and improve your odds! While you cannot alter your DNA, you can still take preventative measures that reduce the chances that you’ll develop decay or an infection. One way to do this is by brushing and flossing your teeth thoroughly every day to remove any plaque buildup. This bacteria-laden film can eventually harden into calculus or tartar, increasing your risk of developing gingivitis—the first stage of periodontal disease.
Since genetics is out of your control, the best thing you can do is have regular cleanings and checkups with your dentist. These appointments give our team an opportunity to remove the buildup of plaque before it becomes a problem, helping to maintain your oral health and keep your gums healthy.
Your dentist may also offer additional treatments like scaling and root planing that allow us to remove hardened plaque and smooth the surface of your tooth roots where disease-causing bacteria tend to gather. If needed, we can provide antibiotic therapy to help fight harmful bacteria in your mouth as well. All of the combined efforts can help you keep your mouth as clean and healthy as possible!
Many medications can increase your risk for gum disease. Medications that reduce saliva production, such as antihistamines, decongestants, and pain relievers, increase your risk of gum disease. In addition, some antidepressants and drugs used to manage epilepsy can also increase your risk.
Drinking alcohol can increase your risk of gum disease. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation and have plenty of water to help prevent dry mouth. This will help wash out any sugars found in alcoholic beverages.
If you are interested in learning more, call our office at (225) 261-0043 to schedule an appointment today! We would be happy to get you on the schedule and help answer any questions that you may have.