Gum Disease: What Does it Affect?
In its early form, gum disease may only affect the soft tissues but as it is left untreated it can cause and infection within the bone which has the potential to lead to bone loss. The early-stage gum disease that only affects the soft tissue is also referred to as gingivitis.
More advanced forms of the disease infect bones and supporting structures of the teeth leading to more serious complications requiring more invasive treatments such as root canals.
What are the common causes of gum disease?
There are a number of risk factors when it comes to the development of gum disease, including plaque and bacteria buildup in the mouth, hormonal shifts, smoking, nutritional deficiencies, some prescription medications, uneven teeth and even genetics.
If you notice bleeding from your gums when you are brushing your teeth, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible to have your teeth examined. It is important to keep up with daily oral hygiene in order to keep the bacteria in your mouth from taking over.
If it is left too long, your body will try to rid itself of undisturbed bacteria by sending more blood to your gums. The excess blood may cause swelling, soreness, bleeding and redness. Your body thinks it has an infection - this is called gingivitis, and it won't heal until the source of the infection is eliminated.
Bacteria can be found in plaque, tartar or calculus, pockets beneath the gums (in cases of advanced gum disease), cavities, abscesses and chipped teeth. They may also hide in old dental work, as repairs to your teeth create an edge or margin that bacteria can adhere to.
How can you prevent the development of gum disease?
If you hope to prevent yourself from experiencing the discomfort of gum disease you will need to focus on daily oral hygiene as well as professional oral health care.
Gum disease is not caused by a single situation or condition, there are a number of causes behind this serious oral disease.
For example, while you may be prone to plaque buildup (perhaps due to genetics), as long as you brush and floss your teeth twice a day and visit your dentist as prescribed for regular professional cleanings and checkups, chances are that gum disease will not be able to fully develop.
Whether a pregnancy causes a hormonal shift, you take prescription medication or are a regular smoker, the most common cause of gum disease is the unimpeded development of bacteria and plaque in the mouth.
Most of the time, gum disease can be easily prevented with a good oral hygiene routine. While the issues listed above can increase your risk (and make prevention more challenging), whether it actually develops comes down to the decisions you make every day about your oral health practices.