The Top Risk Factors for Gum Disease to Know
Gum disease affects millions of adults every day; in fact, it’s by far one of the most common chronic conditions in the United States (and even the world!) Not only is it very easy to miss the early stages of gum infections due to the lack of symptoms, but there are many predispositions that people can have that increase risk. While some gum disease risk factors are quite clear, others might surprise you. Learn what they are today so you can stay proactive for your long-term oral health!
Smoking and Tobacco Use
Not only is tobacco use linked to many life-threatening diseases like heart disease, lung disease, and cancer, but many studies have shown those who use tobacco to be at higher risk for chronic gum problems as well. This is the case regardless of how its consumed, whether it’s through cigarettes or chewing tobacco.
Poor Oral Hygiene
When plaque goes unremoved from the teeth and gums, it’s allowed to grow, enabling the development of more bacteria that attacks the gum tissue directly. This is why the gums become red, sensitive, and inflamed when you don’t practice daily brushing and flossing as well as receive professional cleanings from a dentist.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that older patients tend to have the highest rate of periodontal disease. In fact, they note that over 70% of Americans and older have some level of periodontitis. This is considered to be the more advanced version of the disease that requires professional intervention to treat.
Chances are if your parents or grandparents struggled with gum disease, you may too due to a genetic predisposition. Even the most dedicated oral care at home could keep you at high risk throughout your life. This is just another reason why it’s important to always remember routine visits to the dentist so you can confirm no underlying problems are present.
Teeth Grinding and Clenching
Excess force on the tissues that support teeth can actually accelerate their breakdown, leading to symptoms like gum recession. Consider your stress levels and what you can do to lower them to reduce this habit. In the meantime, you can get a custom-made mouthguard designed to provide cushion to your teeth, especially while you sleep.
High Stress and Poor Nutrition
Without the right nutrition, your body’s immune system isn’t able to work as hard as it should be. The same is true when you’re stressed out or overworked. Taking the time to manage both of these issues can do wonders for your long-term gum health.
Even if you have a risk factor for gum disease, that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to protect yourself and your smile moving forward. That includes visiting a dentist regularly for exams and cleanings, a practice that’s necessary whether or not you’re at risk.