May 20, 2016
Dentists are concerned about gum disease.
Various studies give different results, but at the low end, experts estimate that half of American adults have some form of periodontal disease.
That’s too many, especially when you consider the basic steps for preventing this condition. Most people can keep gum disease at bay by brushing twice each day, flossing every day, and visiting the dentist for routine cleanings and examinations twice a year.
If you live in or near Salem, OR, we welcome you to get your cleanings at Oregon Smile Care Center. If we see signs of gum disease, we can advise you on the best course of treatment. We also provide non-surgical periodontal treatments in our office.
As with many diseases, some people are more prone to develop gum disease than others. Today we will be discussing the risk factors that could affect your gum health.
Know Your Risk
We have alluded to one of the risk factors that you can control — oral hygiene. In a recent survey, the American Dental Association found that only 40 percent of Americans say that they follow the recommendation to floss every day.
In other words, less than half of Americans are taking a simple step that can help prevent a problem with their oral health.
That’s one risk factor you can control. Some other risk factors are out of your hands, although we will start with something that does depend on your decisions.
◼︎ Tobacco Use
By now, most people are well aware that using tobacco is not healthy. It also stains your teeth and increases your risk for oral and several other kinds of cancer.
So it should not be a surprise that tobacco hurts your gum tissue, too. It does not matter if you are a smoker or use some form of chewing tobacco. Both increase your odds of developing gum disease.
Furthermore, the damage done by tobacco can make periodontal treatment less successful, and it increases your chances that your gum disease will return.
Like we said, some of the factors are out of your control. If gum disease is common in your family, it may be due to your genes.
If you know this, then that may be the encouragement you need to keep flossing daily and to avoid unhealthy habits like smoking.
People with diabetes are more likely to have gum disease. Experts have not yet determined the exact reason for this, but they know a link exists.
This may be because dry mouth is a common symptom of diabetes, and dry mouth makes it easier for the bacteria that cause gum disease to survive and grow.
This is becoming a bigger concern across the United States and in Oregon, too. According to the data used by America’s Health Rankings, 4 percent of Oregonians had diabetes in 1996. As of last year, 9 percent of Oregon residents had been told that they have diabetes. If there is good news, that is down from 9.9 percent in 2013.
◼︎ Being A Female Going Through Hormonal Changes
If you live long enough, you find out that life isn’t fair, and this is a case where it’s not fair to women. During puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, women go through changes that affect their hormones. Those changes make them more susceptible to gum disease.
◼︎ Getting Older
Remember when you were young. You could run faster and play or work for hours without feeling sore. Well, the issues that affect your muscles and joints affect your gums as well.
As we age, our gums may become more likely to develop periodontal disease.
Help Is Close By
If you notice the signs of gum disease (like red, swollen, or bleeding gums), let us know. By treating your problem early, you can prevent bigger issues like gum recession and tooth loss. Yes, tooth loss. Gum disease is actually the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States.
During routine cleanings, we will remove any tartar buildup along with plaque and bacteria from your mouth. If you have advanced gum disease, then we will need to go a step further to remove it.
This is a procedure called scaling and root planing. This involves cleaning under your gumline to remove plaque and tartar formations around the roots of your teeth.
We want to stress that prevention is the best option when it comes to gum disease. Please brush, floss, and keep your regular appointments at our dentist office in Salem, OR.