While many people are aware that not brushing and flossing on a regular basis will likely lead to gum disease, there are other risk factors that could affect whether or not you develop this oral health condition as well. The oral surgeons at Oral Surgery Associates of Alaska in Anchorage are here to explain the causes of gum disease and some of the most common risk factors.
The first stage of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is gingivitis. Bacterial plaque forms on teeth and causes gum tissues to become inflamed or infected. As the plaque builds up, it hardens into tartar. An excess of tartar creates large pockets between the teeth and gums, allowing bacteria to attack the surrounding bone and connective tissue. Left untreated, periodontal disease can result in tooth loss.
There are several risk factors that can cause gum disease or increase its severity:
- Diabetes: Diabetics have a harder time fighting infections, including gum disease, due to their unstable blood sugar levels.
- Prescriptions & Diseases: Certain drugs reduce saliva flow, which can lead to dry mouth. If there isn’t any saliva to wash away bacteria, it could lead to gum disease. Illnesses like cancer and HIV can also damage gum tissue.
- Female Hormones: Changes in hormone levels, especially during pregnancy, can lead to inflamed gum tissue.
- Smoking: In addition to their harmful effect on the lungs, cigarettes can also cause periodontal disease.
- Your Family Tree: Do you have your mother’s eyes and your father’s smile? You may have your aunt’s easily irritated gums, too. Some people are just more prone to developing gum disease than others due to their genes.
If your gums are bleeding or irritated, it's time to make an appointment with a dentist or an oral surgeon. When you come in for your appointment, the experts at Oral Surgery Associates of Alaska will examine your gums and determine whether the problem can be solved by more flossing or if you will require dental surgery. They provide a wide variety of services, including dental implants, wisdom teeth removal, cosmetic dental care, and jaw surgery.
Your oral hygiene is important, and it's time to take action! Contact the professional oral surgeons at Oral Surgery Associates of Alaska by calling (907) 561-1430 to make an appointment or visit the practice's website for a full list of their services.