Healthy Gums are Key for Good Oral Health
Causes of Peridontal (Gum) Disease:
Inadequate Oral Hygiene
When plaque is not removed thoroughly through regular flossing and brushing, it hardens in to calculus, also known as tartar. At this stage the tartar has to be removed by a dental professional, if it is not removed the bacteria will cause inflammation destroying the bone around your teeth.
Research shows that stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection because it suppresses your immune response. Thus, stress can make it harder for the body to fight the bacteria causing periodontal disease.
Nutritional deficiency lowers the body’s immune system, ability to fight off infection and in turn impacts the oral cavity. This becomes evident when there are inflammatory changes to the gums and tongue, encouraging bacterial growth. Thus a body that is low in nutrients can see worsened cased of periodontal disease as it is harder to fight the bacteria.
Recent studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease.
Research proves that up to 30% of the population may be genetically susceptible to gum disease. Even with aggressive oral care habits, such people may be six times more likely to develop periodontal disease. A genetic test helps identify such cases before evident signs of the disease occur, allowing for early interceptive treatment.
Puberty, Pregnancy, Menstruation, Menopause and the Pill
When a woman goes through hormonal changes during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause the body’s needs may change. These changes can affect many of the tissues in your body including the gums. Gums contain estrogen receptors, with higher estrogen level the gums may bleed, become sensitive or swollen. These changes can make women more susceptible to gum disease. Recent studies suggest that women pregnant with gum disease are seven times more likely to deliver pre-term, low birth-weight babies. It is important, especially for women to maintain the health of their gums to protect the health of themselves and children.
Oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, anti-convulsants, and certain heart medication can affect your oral health. It is important to inform your dental-care provider of all medicines you are taking and any changes to your overall health. Your physical and oral health don’t stand alone, a thorough and complete medical history is essential to a proper assessment and diagnosis.
Clenching or grinding your teeth (bruxism)
Clenching or grinding your teeth can place excessive force on your teeth and their supporting tissues, and could speed up the rate at which these periodontal tissues are destroyed. Grinding and clenching can also compound and an already existing periodontal condition, causing rapid and irreversible destruction.
Diabetics are at higher risk for developing infections, including periodontal disease. Infections can also impair the ability to process and/or utilize insulin. Since diabetes develops from a deficiency in or inability to use insulin, gum disease may make diabetes and the infection more difficult to control.
Other Systemic Diseases
Any disease that may interfere with the body’s immune system may worsen the condition of the gums.
Types of Peridontal Disease
There are many forms of periodontal disease, the most common ones include:
Gingivitis is the mildest form of the periodontal diseases. When plaque is not removed regularly and thoroughly, it can spread underneath the gumline. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque become irritating and cause chronic inflammation. The issues and bone supporting the teeth break down and become damaged. This process causes the gums to separate from the teeth forming pockets allowing more bacteria to enter underneath the gumline.
At his stage the gums become red, swollen, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort but the gums usually bleed when brushing or flossing. Gingivitis is reversible and preventable with regular dental visits and a good oral-care routine. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into a more serious case of periodontal disease resulting irreversible bone loss and damage to the other structures that support the teeth.
A form of periodontitis related to a dysfunctional particular white blood-cell type, aggressive periodontitis generally genetic and occurs in patients who are otherwise clinically healthy. Common systems are rapid attachment loss and bone destruction.
A form of periodontitis disease that results in inflammation in the supporting tissues of the teeth, characterized with gum recession, pocket formation, and both slow and rapid periods of attachment and bone loss. Chronic periodontitis is the most common form of periodontitis disease, affecting 55-85% of adults over the age of 35. The disease is not curable, however further destruction is preventable.
Necrotizing Periodontal Diseases
A periodontal infection causing necrosis (death) of the gingival tissues, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. Characterized by lesions, most commonly observed in individuals with systemic conditions including, but not limited to: HIV infection, malnutrition, and immune-suppression.
Periodontitis as a Manifestation of Systemic Diseases
Early-onset periodontitis (onset at a young age) is often associated with one of several systemic diseases, such as diabetes, Down’s Syndrome, Papillon-LeFevre Syndrome and other systemic or developmental conditions.
View our informational video about peridontal disease.