More than half the adult population in America deal with some form of gum (periodontal) disease, which is the infection and inflammation of the soft tissue inside the mouth. There are several factors that can contribute to developing the condition. So you can prevent any periodontal issues, continue reading to learn about 6 gum disease risk factors.
#1 – Age
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 70% of Americans age 65 and older have gum disease. While aging doesn’t mean that you’re automatically destined to develop the condition, it does increase the susceptibility. Because of this phenomenon, it’s of great importance to be even more vigilant about maintaining your oral health as the years go by.
#2 – Tobacco Usage
When smoked or chewed, tobacco releases harmful toxins inside the mouth. They can cause excessive mouth dryness that can lead to accelerated bacteria growth. The more bacteria that are present, the greater the risk of developing gum disease.
#3 – Genetics
One of the most prevalent genetic markers for gum disease is a family history of diabetes. However, this shouldn’t be misconstrued as meaning that you have no say-so in the future of your oral health. The more diligent you are in maintaining excellent and consistent oral care habits and regular dental visits, the better your chances of overcoming any genetic limitations.
#4 – Stress
Do you find yourself stressed out often? If so, it could contribute to developing gum disease. That’s because heightened stress levels for a prolonged period of time can weaken the immune system and leave the gums vulnerable to infection. The more proficient you become at developing coping mechanisms for life’s ups and downs, the better off your oral health will be.
#5 – Medications
Certain medications can contribute to the mouth becoming extremely dry. When the natural saliva production is inhibited, it can open the door to increased bacteria growth. Saliva also plays an integral role in bathing the teeth and gums to flush away leftover food particles and bacteria. If you’re currently dealing with such a problem, bring it to your physician’s attention so the necessary adjustments can be made.
#6 – Poor Nutrition
A diet high in sugar and processed ingredients can increase the bacteria present in your mouth at all times, which can lead to cavities and gum decay. If you have a sweet tooth, you’d be better off substituting fruits for candy, pastries and other harmful snacks. By making this minor dietary change, you can positively impact your oral and overall health.
Additionally, you should make it a habit to brush and floss your teeth at least two times a day. Also, be sure to visit a dentist every six months for cleanings and examinations. As a reward for your efforts, you’ll be able to maintain a healthy and attractive smile!
About the Author
Dr. Rob Schumacher received his dental training from both the University of Kentucky and the University of Michigan, and for over 14 years, he has been helping his patients experience the absolute best in oral health. A member of the Massachusetts Dental Association, North Shore Dental Society and other professional organizations, Dr. Schumacher provides preventive and restorative gum care at Schumacher Dental, and he can be reached for more information or to schedule a visit through his website.