Gum disease is a common condition that affects the gums. Nearly 50% of people over the age of 30 years old have some form of gum disease. Furthermore, just over 70% of people over the age of 65 have gum disease. If you are diagnosed with any stage of gum disease, know that you are not alone. Anything from bleeding gums to bone loss can be put under the umbrella of gum disease.
Gum disease can begin as inflamed or swollen gums. This stage requires little treatment. However, gum disease can advance without treatment. Later stages can cause bone loss and tissue damage. It is more important to know what causes gum disease in the first place. Gum disease is highly treatable in its early stages. Yet, it is easier to avoid gum disease altogether.
Poor Oral Hygiene
The most common cause of gum disease is lack of proper oral health care. Dentists recommend that you brush at least twice a day or after meals. Additionally, you should floss at least once a day to get between teeth. Without this minimal care, it becomes easier to develop gum disease.
The reason you should follow your dentist’s recommendation is because of plaque. Plaque is a sticky bacterial substance that develops in your mouth and clings to your teeth. Regular brushing and flossing can remove plaque from your teeth daily. However, if it is left behind, you can develop tooth decay or gum disease. The bacteria in plaque form an acid that destroys the enamel. Additionally, plaque buildup can cause the gums to recede. Receding gums is a symptom of gum disease.
Medical Conditions or Illnesses
It is important to remember that gum disease is an infection that attacks your gums. Any time you have an infection, your body will respond. Your immune system puts up defenses in order to rid the body of infection. Illnesses that or medical conditions can weaken your immune system. In that case, you are more likely to develop gum disease.
For example, illnesses like cancers or Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) interfere with your body’s ability to defend itself. This means that your immune system cannot function properly. A weakened immune system puts you at risk of developing other infections. For example, you are more likely to develop gum disease.
Changes in Hormones
Fluctuations in hormones can also cause gum disease. When you experience an increase in hormones, the gums become more sensitive. Sensitive gums have an increased chance of developing gum disease. Medications, menstruation, pregnancy, puberty, and menopause can cause changes to hormonal levels. Additionally, hormone levels can change with age. This means it is important to stay in contact with your dentist and doctors.
Sometimes, there are no other causes other than a family history of gum disease. If several people in your close family have gum disease, you should prepare yourself. You may have excellent dental hygiene and still develop gum disease. Unfortunately, you will need to make continuous appointments with your dentist to ensure it is under control.