Factors that Can Increase Your Risk of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums. As the infection progresses, it destroys the connective tissues holding your teeth in your jaw. Untreated periodontal disease is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in American adults. Understanding your risk factors and visiting your dentist regularly can help to minimize your chances of periodontal disease-related tooth loss.
Age and Sex
Periodontal disease is most common among older adults. Nearly 70% of seniors over the age of 65 suffer from this dental disease. Gum disease is also more common in men than in women. However, hormonal changes that occur in women during pregnancy and menopause can also increase the risk of developing periodontal disease.
Tobacco has many negative effects on your dental health and has been identified as one of the leading risk factors in the development of gum disease. Smoking decreases saliva production, which allows bacteria to multiply more easily in your mouth. Tobacco also decreases blood flow to the gums and suppresses the immune system, making it easier for an infection to take hold.
Poor dental hygiene, particularly a lack of flossing, is also a significant risk factor for gum disease. Dental floss cleans between the teeth and along the gum line, which are areas that your toothbrush cannot effectively reach. Failing to clean plaque away from these parts of your teeth allows it to harden into tartar, which irritates the gums and sparks the development of gingivitis.
Dentists and doctors have found a two-way link between diabetes and dental problems such as gum disease. If you have diabetes, your body is more susceptible to infection, including infection of the gums. Poorly controlled blood sugar levels further increase your risk of developing gum disease.
The best way to beat gum disease is to brush and floss every day and visit your dentist twice a year. If it’s time for your next checkup, call Sanford Dental Excellence at (407) 268-6409. Visit us on the web to learn more about preventing gum disease and how we can help restore your smile after injury or infection.