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Factors affecting gum health

Gum disease in its various forms currently affects more than three quarters of the adult population. That being said, only about half of those suffering from gum disease are aware of the issues affecting their oral and general health. Gum disease, with its subsequent inflammation and possibility for infection, has been directly linked to several serious health conditions, like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. To that end, we assess our patients for periodontal disease in Highland, and make every effort to help each patient understand the specific risk factors that they can watch for.

Oral hygiene is, of course, one of the most important factors that impact the oral environment. When there is a lack of oral hygiene, specifically the inclusion of both brushing and flossing on a daily basis, bacteria that form plaque are able to build up on teeth and gums, leading to periodontal disease in Highland. Other risk factors related directly to the mouth itself include:

  • Abnormally structured teeth.
  • Oddly shaped restorations, such as fillings or crowns, give bacteria places to hide.
  • Consumption of sugary and acidic foods, as bacteria thrive on such substances.
  • Wisdom teeth, located at the very back of the mouth, are highly difficult to properly clean, and become areas where bacteria can flourish.

Age does become a factor in one's risk of developing some form of gum disease, as research finds that most that fall into the senior age category, up to 86%, experience a more advanced form of gum disease, periodontitis. Children, on the other hand, typically show fewer signs of gum disease and, when they do, it is the most treatable form, gingivitis. Those in their twenties and beyond, research shows, tend to develop gingivitis around a few teeth. It is during this time when regular dental check-ups become most important, since gingivitis can be treated far more easily than more advanced forms of gum disease.

Women may also experience a higher risk of developing gum disease, simply due to the hormonal changes that occur throughout a woman's life. The hormone progesterone is linked to the dilation of blood vessels, which can lead to not only inflammation, but also a blockage of collagen repair. This combination of effects may lead to inflammation of the gums at certain points in a woman's cycle. Additionally, women may experience an elevated risk for gum disease during pregnancy and menopause and, in some cases, as a result of oral contraceptives.

Dr. Vines maintains a focus on periodontal disease in Highland, striving to bring every patient into his or her best state of oral health. Contact us today to schedule your dental checkup.

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