Amelia Grant

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Author: AmeliaGrant

8 Most Common Risk Factors for Gum Disease

Gum disease is a dangerous gum line infection that can severely damage your oral tissues and teeth if untreated. It can also cause your teeth to become loose, putting you at risk of complete tooth loss. Gum disease is quite common but easily preventable if caught early. The most common culprit of infected gums is an accumulation of dental plaque, but other factors can impact the health of your gum line too. 

Keep on reading to discover the 8 most common factors that can negatively affect the health of your gums.

1. Age
According to a recent study, gum disease is prevalent in the older generation. About 70% of U.S. citizens over 65 are affected by some type of gum infection. That’s because your gums typically start to shrink with age, exposing the base of the tooth and the underlying roots. This allows bacteria to accumulate in these vulnerable areas, resulting in inflammation and decay.  

2. Tobacco use and smoking
Tobacco products are commonly associated with various ailments like cardiovascular disease, cancer, and lung disease. However, not many people know that smoking and using products like snus, e-cigarettes, and vape is also a direct way to develop gum disease. According to various studies, tobacco use increases plaque formation and decreases the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream, making it harder for infected gums to heal. 

3. Genetics
Experts state that certain individuals are genetically predisposed to gum infections. Regardless of their dental hygiene and personal habits, these people may be more likely to experience gum disease. Determining your predisposition with a genetic test before you even have any symptoms of disease and receiving a timely professional treatment is essential to keep your gums and teeth healthy for years to come. 

4. Stressful lifestyle
Being constantly stressed can significantly increase your odds of developing ailments like high blood pressure, cancer, obesity, diabetes, and gastrointestinal problems. Stress and anxiety are also linked to a higher risk of gum disease. Numerous studies demonstrate that nervous tension and stress make it harder for your immune system to combat infections, including severe periodontal disease.   

5. Medicines
Certain medications like birth control pills, antidepressants, and specific cardiovascular disease drugs can negatively affect your dental health. Similar to how you inform your pharmacist and other health care providers about all the medications you’re using and any health concerns you’re having, you should also notify your dental specialist.  

6. Clenching and gnashing your teeth
When you gnash or clench your teeth together, you put extreme pressure on tissues that support them. This can loosen your teeth and make gum pockets larger. Infectious bacteria will then thrive in your mouth, damaging your gums and dissolving the underlying jawbone. 

7. Other systematic diseases
Certain systemic diseases can weaken your body’s immune system, allowing bacteria to compromise your gums more effectively. Some of these diseases include heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic kidney disease, respiratory disease, cognitive impairment, and cancer. 

8. Malnutrition and obesity
When your body is deprived of essential nutrients, your immune system can fail to fight off bacteria effectively. Because gum disease is caused by bacteria in dental plaque, malnutrition can worsen the condition of your gums. Besides, studies indicate that excessive weight may also increase your risk of gum infection.   

The bottom line 
If you want to preserve the health of your gum line and teeth, consider avoiding or quitting smoking, reducing your stress levels, and changing your medicines if they’re too harsh on your gums. Apart from that, make visiting routine dental cleanings and checkups your top priority. If you’re suffering from a systemic disease, consult your doctor to determine the most effective ways of managing your symptoms.   


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