Gum disease is fairly common among adults in the US. The Centers for Disease Control reports that more than 47 percent of people over the age of 30 have some form of the disease. That number jumps to just over 70 percent for people over the age of 65. While anyone can develop gum disease, certain risk factors make it more likely for it to develop. The disease also impacts certain groups of people more than others. For example, men are more likely to have gum disease than women. Your lifestyle choices and heredity also play a role in determining your risk of developing the disease.
Even if you brush your teeth and floss regularly and practice generally healthy habits, you can have an increased risk for gum disease thanks to mom and dad. If your parents have a history of gum disease, it’s essential that you see a dentist on a regular basis for cleanings and to monitor the state of your gums. A study published in Human Molecular Genetics in 2013 examined more than 4,500 people and found a connection between periodontal disease and certain genes.
Tobacco use, including smoking, is terrible for the health of your teeth. It not only turns your teeth yellow, it’s one of the leading risk factors for gum disease. According to the CDC, over 64 percent of people with the disease currently smoke.
Smoking and tobacco use affects your gum health in several ways. Tobacco use slows down healing, increasing your risk for infection. There’s also a connection between smoking and having larger dental pockets and more recession of the gums. If you are being treated for gum disease, continuing to smoke during treatment can make it less effective.
Keeping your teeth clean is critical for the health of your gums. Poor dental habits, such as brushing just once a day or not flossing, raise your risk for gum disease. Remember to use a toothpaste that contains fluoride to protect your teeth and to change your toothbrush often. If you are unsure whether or not your dental habits are up to snuff, talk to your dentist or periodontist about the right way to brush and floss.
It’s typically recommended that you replace a manual toothbrush every three to four months. Take a look at the bristles of the brush if you’re not sure whether or not it’s time for a new toothbrush. Once the bristles start fraying or looking worn, it’s time for a new one.
The positioning of your teeth in the mouth can also contribute to gum disease. If your teeth are crooked, it’s more difficult to keep them clean, as it might be harder to fit floss between them or there might be more space for plaque and tartar to build up. Poorly fitting dentures or implants can also increase your risk for gum disease.
Certain habits can harm your teeth and raise your risk for gum disease. For example, when you regularly grind or clench your teeth, you put pressure on the gum tissue. The force and pressure can cause the gums to deteriorate, contributing to the development of disease.
Your lifestyle choices or habits play a big role in determining your overall health. If you’re constantly under stress due to a high pressure job or family issues, you can be inadvertently raising your risk for gum disease. When you’re stressed out, your immune system doesn’t work as well as it should. That means that your body is less likely to fight off bacterial infections in your mouth and gums. Stress also puts you at greater risk for a number of other conditions, such as hypertension.
You are what you eat and some dietary choices also put you at greater risk for gum disease. Your immune system needs a diet that’s high in nutrients including vitamins and minerals to work at its best. If your diet consists of mostly junk food, your body isn’t getting the nutrition it needs to fight off gum disease.
Miami periodontal specialists Dr. Gallardo and Dr. Lamas are able to help you lower your risk for gum disease or provide effective treatment options if you suffer from the condition. Protect the health of your gums by calling their office at 305-447-1447 for a consultation today.