5 Common Causes of Gum Disease (And What You Can Do About it)

March 12th, 2018
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Nearly 50 percent of all American adults suffer from some form of gum disease. What are the causes of gum disease that you can help to prevent?

We'll talk frankly: gum disease can be highly unpleasant for you and other people. Symptoms include tender, bleeding or swollen gums, loose teeth, bad breath, and pain when you chew.

However, if you keep a keen eye out for potential causes, you stand a chance of correcting it before the damage gets worse. Here are 5 key causes to be on the lookout for.

1. Plaque

Plaque is by far the most common of all causes of gum disease.

This is a layer of bacteria which builds up on your gums and teeth. Daily brushing and flossing helps to remove this - and mouthwash can also help to control plaque.

Early stages of gum disease are entirely reversible with a good routine and regular trips to the dentist.

2. Smoking

Smoking ruins your gums, as well as giving you bad breath. It's one of the worst causes of gum disease because it causes poor oral hygiene all around. It actually increases the rate at which plaque builds up in your mouth, and makes your mouth more susceptible to a number of conditions besides gum disease.

Kicking the habit could save your teeth, as well as your lungs.

3. Grinding Teeth (Bruxism)

The medical term for grinding teeth is 'bruxism'. This usually happens while you're asleep, and can be the result of a stressful period in your life.

Sometimes it resolves itself after a while, but some people need to use a mouth splint. This is a soft mouthguard used to prevent the two rows of teeth clashing together so hard.

It can be hard to notice if you have bruxism, but common signs are waking up with a sore jaw or even a headache from the pressure your jaws have exerted on each other during the night.

4. Medications

Some medications can have side-effects such as reduced saliva production. When this happens, you'll have a dry mouth. Bacteria are better at reproducing in this environment, and can quickly spread across your mouth.

If you think you've got a particularly dry mouth while taking medication, remember to drink plenty of water and see a dentist as soon as you can.

5. Family History

Unfortunately, gum disease can sometimes be attributed (at least in part) to your genetic makeup. However, more research is needed to pin down the exact reasons behind this problem.

We're mentioning it here though because it means all of us need to be on the lookout for signs of gum disease. It could affect any of us, even if we're very careful with our oral health.

Treating the Causes of Gum Disease

We've set out a few ways that you can battle the causes of gum disease in this blog.

However, you sometimes need professional cleaning or another form of intervention to recover from gum disease - especially if it has already got to the later stages.

If you'd like us to take a look and see what we can do for you, book an appointment!