Gum disease poses a serious risk to both your oral and overall health. You likely know that gum disease can cause bad breath and tooth loss, but you may be surprised to learn that this condition can also cause heart disease, respiratory disorders, stroke, and premature labor; gum disease may even be linked to some cancers. Understanding the causes of gum disease may help you prevent it. Here’s what you need to know about how gum disease develops:
Poor Oral Hygiene
Regular brushing and flossing is your primary line of defense against gum disease. The bacteria that naturally occur in your mouth constantly grow and cover your teeth in a film called plaque. Brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day helps remove this plaque before it can harden and form tartar. Once plaque becomes tartar, it can only be removed by a dentist. Plaque and tartar trigger an inflammatory response in your gums as your body tries to rid itself of the bacteria. This inflammation is gum disease. In its earliest stage, gum disease is called gingivitis; when severely progressed, it is referred to as periodontitis.
Smoking speeds up the rate at which plaque and tartar develop on your teeth. It also accelerates the rate at which gingivitis becomes periodontitis. Smokers also tend to develop pockets between their gums and teeth, which fill with bacteria and aggravate gum infection. When you smoke, you have a greater risk of losing teeth to gum disease than a non-smoker.
Oral bacteria flourish in patients with uncontrolled diabetes—the increased sugar in the bloodstream is the perfect food for these bacteria. Even those with controlled diabetes are more prone to infection than non-diabetics. Diabetics also heal at a slower rate, which allows gum disease to develop and progress quickly.
Don’t let gum disease compromise your health. At Colorado Advanced Dentistry, we use the latest technology to diagnose and treat gum disease, including our LANAP laser treatment procedure. Call us today at (720) 420-1103 to schedule a consultation.