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What Is the Main Cause of Gum Disease?

added on: July 11, 2017

brunette woman at dentist to find out main cause of gum disease

An estimated 64.7 million Americans have some type of mild, moderate, or severe gum disease. With the prevalence of gum disease you may wonder, what is the main cause and how can you prevent it?

Poor oral hygiene habits – including not flossing; not brushing regularly, especially before bed; and having a poor diet high in sugary foods or processed foods – is the number one cause of gum disease. The main thing to remember when you’re trying to prevent gum disease to is practice at-home care and get your six-month dental cleanings and checkups.

Poor Dental Hygiene

When you don’t floss and remove the food particles from between your teeth, the particles turn to plaque and cause inflammation that leads to minor gingivitis. Left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, the more severe phase of gum disease. Once gum disease reaches a certain stage, we cannot reverse it, only manage it.

Caught early, we may be able to reverse gingivitis. If you get professional teeth cleanings and start flossing and brushing regularly, you can remove the plaque that causes the inflammation and return your gums to the healthy state they should be.

If gum disease persists and we can’t reverse it, you can still maintain good dental health by visiting your dentist for regular cleanings. This helps prevent the disease from progressing to a point where tooth and bone loss become concerns.

Other Causes of Gum Disease

Sometimes other factors can cause gum disease, and they may not have anything to do with poor dental hygiene. Common causes that lead to gum disease include:

  • Smoking
  • Prescription medications
  • Hormonal shifts
  • Genetics
  • Nutritional deficiencies

If you are concerned about gum disease, schedule an appointment with Dr. Allen to have a professional teeth cleaning and to measure your gums. We use a tool that will measure the pockets in your gums to determine their health. You might hear us calling out numbers – this is the measurement of your gum pockets. Deeper pockets, say a five, are serious and can trap more plaque, which will progress the inflammation and disease further. However, healthy gums will sit close to the tooth, and look pink rather than red. Make sure your gums are healthy by having regular checkups and appointments with our friendly team at Caring Smiles.