Understanding the Symptoms and Risk Factors of Gum Disease

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Image of a woman flossingAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 64.7 million American adults have some degree of gum disease, which is about 47.2 percent of the population. One of the biggest culprits for gum disease is plaque—a thick bacterial film that constantly forms on teeth and gums. When caught in its early stages, gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is reversible. Read on to learn more about the symptoms and other common causes.

Warning Signs

Be alert for any bleeding while brushing or flossing teeth, receding gums, or loose or separating teeth. Also note any pus between the gums and teeth, sores in the mouth, or persistent bad breath. Finally, be aware of any changes in the normal bite of teeth or fit of partial dentures. Any of these symptoms could be a red flag for periodontitis and indicate the need for a dental appointment.

Tobacco Use

Smoking and chewing tobacco interfere with the function of gum tissue cells, leaving the mouth more susceptible to infections. A study from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research found that tobacco was the most significant risk factor for the development and progression of gum disease.

Misaligned Teeth

If teeth are overlapped, crooked, or missing, then patients have an increased risk for bacterial pockets to form, become infected, and lead to gum disease. Uneven teeth should be checked by a dentist. A full mouth rehabilitation can help address most or all of these issues and make the mouth more protected against gum disease.

Medications

The flow of saliva is vital in helping to protect the teeth and gums from bacteria. Unfortunately, many types of medications can suppress the creation of saliva, leaving the mouth dry and exposed to potential bacterial growth. A dentist should be aware of all medications a patient is taking, as well the history of any gum disease in a family.

Nutritional Deficiencies, Particularly Vitamin C

Even when an individual has no oral health problems, his or her vitamin levels should be checked. Vitamins C and K are especially important for healthy teeth and gums. Recommendations for daily Vitamin C doses are 90 mg for males and 75 mg for females, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Persistent daily oral health care and periodic dental examinations are the first line of defense against gum disease. Please call (925) 244-9770 or fill out our contact form should any of these symptoms arise. Dr. Dhaliwal DMD and his experienced staff in San Ramon, CA are here to address all your general dentistry needs.

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