Think gum disease is a minor ailment that won’t have any significant impact on your health? Think again! Gum disease is linked to serious health problems in other parts of your body, including stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. Read on to find out the main causes of gum disease and how to avoid them.
Plaque is the thick, sticky layer of bacteria that forms on your teeth and gums. When you eat, the bacteria feast on the sugars in your food and produce acids that eat away at your tooth enamel. If left on your teeth and gums plaque will harden into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional. Tartar that collects at the gum line will cause gum tissue to become red and swollen – this is an indication of gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease.
How to avoid: Brush and floss twice a day! Attend regular check-ups with your dental hygienist.
Smoking decreases your saliva production, which means your body is less equipped to wash away plaque-causing bacteria. Nicotine also restricts the blood flow to the gums, which means that smokers may not experience bleeding gums – one of the early warning signs of gum disease.
How to avoid: Ask your doctor for help giving up smoking. Be extra vigilant with your dental hygiene routine, and make regular appointments with your hygienist.
- Prescription medications
Some medications can cause dry mouth, meaning your saliva production is impaired. This creates an environment in which the bacteria that causes plaque can spread more easily.
How to avoid: Sip water throughout the day to help rinse out bacteria. You may also wish to discuss alternative medications with your doctor.
- Misaligned teeth
Crooked or overlapping teeth make it difficult to reach all the surfaces when brushing and flossing, creating spaces where plaque can build up and harden into tartar.
How to avoid: Take extra care when brushing or flossing teeth that are crooked or overlapping. You may wish to discuss orthodontic treatment with your dentist to correct the issue.
- Poor nutrition
A healthy diet is vital for overall good health, including a strong immune system and healthy teeth and gums. A diet that is high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in vitamins and minerals encourages plaque-causing bacteria to thrive in the mouth.
How to avoid: Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of vitamin C.
Attending regular check-ups with your dental hygienist is vital for maintaining the health of your teeth and gums and identifying the early signs of gum disease. To make an appointment with our dental hygienist, Gayle, contact Exeter Advanced Dentistry today.