5 Common Gum Disease Causes

gum disease causes

5 Common Gum Disease Causes

If you have swollen, puffy or inflamed gums these could be signs of gum disease. Plaque buildup is the most common cause, however, there are several other factors that can also lead to gum disease. At Hicks Dental Group in Prescott, we believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Being informed about potential causes can help you prevent it from developing in the first place. Here are seven common gum disease causes to be aware of:

1. Plaque 

Gum disease is most often caused by plaque—plaque is a sticky, usually colorless, layer of biofilm that forms on your teeth. When the food you eat mixes with saliva it produces bacteria, which collect where the teeth and gums meet. The good news is that, if caught early, it is reversible. Improving your dental care routine and scheduling dental checkups at least every six months are great steps for helping reduce plaque.

2. Tobacco 

Smoking tobacco leads to a buildup of plaque, which causes the gums to become infected. It also causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream. Oxygen is necessary for infected gums to heal, for these reasons smoking causes higher rates of gum disease. Chewing tobacco is just as harmful! 

3. Hormones

Women who are pregnant or going through puberty experience hormone surges that can make them more vulnerable to gum disease. These hormones cause an increased blood flow that makes the gums more sensitive. Your gums might become inflamed, irritated, puffy, red or bleed a little when brushing or flossing. If you experience these symptoms, know that they typically disappear, but women should take extra care of their gums during pregnancy and even during your monthly menstrual cycle. And teens should have a good oral hygiene regimen, especially during puberty. 

4. Prescription Medications

Some prescription meds can have side effects that decrease the amount of saliva your mouth produces, which can cause dry mouth. This allows bacteria and plaque to build up more easily, as saliva kills bacteria and washes away food debris. If you’re concerned about your gum health, discuss your prescription meds with your doctor.

5. Nutrition

Vitamin C is closely linked with gum health. A diet high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in water and vitamin C can be very detrimental to the gums. To help prevent gum disease, make sure to drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet that’s rich in vitamin C. Common food sources of vitamin C include guava, kiwi, bell peppers, strawberries and oranges. 

6. Misaligned Teeth

A crowded mouth can be a precursor to gum disease. Misaligned, overlapping teeth create more spaces that your brush can’t reach, where plaque can build up, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Take extra care to brush and floss in those areas to help prevent the causes of gum infection like plaque. We offer Invisalign, an orthodontic treatment for straightening teeth without the use of conventional metal braces.

7. Family History

A history of gum disease in your family might put you at a slightly increased risk for developing it. Be sure to let your dentist know if this is the case. 

Give us a Call

Although some gum disease causes aren’t always preventable—like family history—you can still lower your risk. Step up your daily dental care routine and be sure to visit Hicks Dental Group in Prescott twice a year for professional cleanings. It will go a long way in ensuring not only that your gums stay healthy, but that your smile stays vibrant for years to come.  

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