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Certain factors make you significantly more likely to develop gum disease at some point in your life. While some of these factors are unavoidable and out of your control, many are entirely preventable. If you are at a heightened risk for developing gum disease based on family genetics or other hereditary factors, taking extra care with your oral hygiene habits is crucial in maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
Learn more about the risk factors of gum disease and if your oral habits put you at an elevated risk of contracting the disease.
Gum Disease Risk Factors
Considering your family’s background can help in determining whether any of the following risks make your chances of developing gum disease more likely:
- Genetics. Research shows that a family history of gum disease makes people more prone to develop periodontal disease. Genetically, some people may be more susceptive to gum disease if it’s commonly experienced in your family history. When reviewing your genetic predisposition, include relatives like your parents, uncles, aunts, and grandparents in your research.
- Use of tobacco products. Using tobacco products of any kind increases your risk of developing many serious illnesses such as cancer, lung disease, heart disease, and periodontal disease.
- Age. Statistically, being over the age of 65 puts you at risk of developing gum disease and 70% of other Americans in this age group.
- Gender. Men are more likely than women to develop gum disease.
- Medications. Certain medications, such as oral contraceptives, antidepressants, and certain heart medications, can affect your oral health. These medications can cause dry mouth and a lack of natural saliva, harming your oral health.
- Poor nutrition and obesity. A diet low in essential nutrients can compromise the body’s immune system and make it harder for the body to fight off infection. Poor nutrition can worsen the condition of your gums, and research shows that obesity may increase the risk of periodontal disease.
- Chronic teeth grinding. Clenching or grinding your teeth can put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth, which leads to gum recession and potential irritation.
- Systemic diseases. Health and medical conditions that are linked to gum disease like diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease
- Stress. Stress is linked to many severe conditions and health problems. Research demonstrates that stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infections, including gum disease.
Reducing Your Risk of Periodontal Disease
Considering gum disease is the primary cause of tooth loss, it’s imperative to keep your gums healthy to prevent tooth loss. Improve your gum health at home, especially if you fall under previously mentioned one (or multiple) high-risk categories.
Be Consistent With Your Oral Hygiene
Be sure you’re brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing once a day for a full two minutes, allowing yourself time to clean your entire mouth properly.
Water helps reset your oral PH levels and rinses away harmful bacteria that cause plaque buildup and tooth decay. Always give your mouth a quick rinse after eating and drinking, and stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.
Floss Regularly and Often
If you have plaque buildup and are experiencing gingivitis symptoms, kickstart your oral hygiene by scheduling a cleaning with your dentist. Periodontal cleanings help to remove plaque and get your teeth and gums back to a healthy state. If you’re not currently flossing, picking up the floss will help make a big difference in the overall health of your gums. Floss accesses areas of your mouth that your toothbrush simply can’t – especially if you have crowded teeth.
Use a Mouthwash Daily
An antibacterial mouthwash will help treat gingivitis by removing harmful bacteria from your mouth. Always look for a mouthwash that has the ADA’s seal of approval.
Never Skip Dental Cleanings and Exams
Each patient experiences gingivitis differently, and in some cases, symptoms may not be visible to the untrained eye. For this reason alone, we always recommend scheduling routine dental exams and cleanings every six months. These routine exams and cleanings are the best way to keep your entire mouth, including the gums, as healthy as possible.
If you’re experiencing any indications of gingivitis, contact Aubrey Baudean DDS, today to schedule a cleaning and exam.