Periodontal (gum) disease is a chronic inflammatory condition that starts out in a stealthy manner and can progress to damage gums, teeth, and bone. The bacteria that cause gum disease can also impact whole-body health and contribute to heart disease, stroke, dementia, low birth weight, rheumatoid arthritis, and more. In Harrisonburg VA, Dr. Scott Dunaway, Dr. Marion Messmer, and Dr. Beulah Warf provide education on gum disease risk factors to prevent this disease from compromising oral and overall wellness.
Although some factors that contribute to gum disease risk, such as genetics and health conditions that include rheumatoid arthritis, can’t be avoided, most can. A little prevention goes a long way when it comes to reducing your risk of gum disease and its damaging effects.
Gum Disease Risk Factors
Plaque buildup on teeth is the leading cause of gum disease. When not removed, this sticky film traps acids that damage teeth and gums. When the bonds that hold teeth in place degrade, teeth can loosen and shift. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults, so it’s important to stop it in its tracks! Brushing and flossing as recommended by your Harrisonburg VA dentist, along with regular checkups and cleanings at our dental office can help keep gums healthy.
Tobacco use has been cited as a significant risk factor in developing gum disease. Cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco can also worsen existing gum disease. Tobacco use slows the body’s healing response and impedes your ability to fight gum disease.
Stress may also let gum disease take hold and worsen existing cases. Like smoking, stress lowers the body’s resistance, so you can’t adequately fight back against infection.
Some medications, while good for the conditions they’re intended to treat, can have negative oral side effects. Anti-depressants, oral contraceptives, and some heart medications can impact the mouth. Keeping the doctor informed about your current medication usage can help identify and prevent potential issues.
A nutritionally inadequate diet can also contribute to gum disease by compromising your body’s immune system. A healthy, nutrient-rich diet can bolster your immune system to help you fight oral infection.
Partner with a Harrisonburg VA dentist to stop gum disease before it starts. By knowing the risk factors, you can avoid them and get a head start on a healthy smile.