Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common condition that can lead to tooth loss. Looking after your teeth is vital for your overall health, wellbeing, and confidence. But, to protect your dental health, you should know the common causes of gum disease and tooth loss so you can take preventative action.
What are the Causes of Gum Disease and Tooth Loss?
● Poor Oral Hygiene
The principal cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. Not brushing and flossing your teeth regularly can cause plaque buildup. Most dentists recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss a minimum of once a day.
Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms over the teeth. When you eat or drink, particularly if you consume anything high in sugar, the plaque in your mouth turns the sugar into acid. Eventually, this acid damages the tooth enamel, leading to decay. Plaque also irritates the gums.
You can easily remove plaque through careful brushing. However, if the plaque isn’t removed, it can harden into tartar which can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist. If you don’t deal with plaque and tartar, it can irritate the gum tissue, causing gum disease and even tooth loss.
● Shifts in Hormones
Hormonal shifts can make you more vulnerable to plaque and susceptible to gum disease. For this reason, when they are pregnant, some women experience what is known as pregnancy gingivitis or gum disease.
During pregnancy, particularly the second trimester, some women suffer from red, swollen, or bleeding gums. Although these issues tend to disappear after pregnancy, it is essential that they are extra diligent with their oral hygiene during this time and don’t miss any dental appointments.
● Misaligned Teeth
People with crooked or overlapping teeth are more susceptible to gum disease because misalignments like this create spaces where plaque can settle and are often more difficult to reach with a toothbrush or floss.
If you have misaligned teeth, you must ensure you take care to brush and floss correctly. If you struggle to find the right floss for you, consult with your dentist about getting orthodontic treatment to reduce your chances of periodontal disease.
Smoking has a negative effect on many aspects of your health, and your teeth and gums are no different. Smoking alters the gum tissue cells’ normal function, making them more vulnerable to gum disease and, in extreme cases, tooth loss. Smoking also dries out the gum tissue, causing the gums to recede and expose the tooth root, which is more susceptible to cavities.
● Nutritional Deficiencies
It has been established that people with a lower dietary intake of vitamin C are more susceptible to gum disease. Improving your diet to ensure you get a healthy balance of vitamins and avoid sugary foods will positively impact your oral and overall health.
● Certain Prescription Medicines
Unfortunately, certain prescription medications can negatively impact your gums and teeth. For instance, some reduce saliva, which protects the teeth, leaving patients with a dry mouth.
Some medications that can make people vulnerable to periodontal disease are certain antidepressants, antihistamines, asthma medication, and oral contraceptives.
Chemotherapy can also increase the chances of gum problems. If you are aware of the potential side effects on your teeth, you will be more likely to avoid them by improving your oral hygiene practices.
● A Family History of Gum Disease
Some people are genetically predisposed to gum disease. If other members of your family have suffered from it, you should inform your dentist and be extremely vigilant with your dental hygiene.
● Pre-Existing Conditions
While not causes of gum disease and tooth loss themselves, certain medical conditions give you a higher chance of suffering from these issues. Such conditions include diabetes and autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and HIV.
Causes of Tooth Loss
Over time, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. However, it is not the only reason that people lose their teeth. Some other common causes are:
● Trauma and Injuries
One of the most common reasons people lose teeth is trauma, usually due to accidents caused by playing sports, falls, or car crashes. Although some accidents are unavoidable, there are certain things you can do to prevent these issues, such as wearing
mouthguards while playing sports.
Another way people lose their teeth is chewing ice, biting into hard foods such as popcorn kernels, or removing caps with your teeth. Think twice before doing these things.
Cavities are holes in the tooth usually caused by poor oral hygiene. If they are not treated early, they can destroy the centre of the tooth called the pulp. If this happens, a root canal must be performed; however, it can also lead to tooth loss in extreme circumstances. Brushing teeth well, avoiding sugary foods, and making regular trips to the dentist help prevent cavities.
Improve Your Oral Health Today
Although there are different causes of gum disease and tooth loss, many of them can be avoided by maintaining good oral hygiene practices and seeing your dentist regularly.
At Dentistry On Solent, our friendly, experienced team is happy to give you advice on how to brush and floss correctly and other lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your chances of experiencing gum disease or tooth loss.
Call us today on (02) 9158 6137 to book your initial consultation.