Although everyone can end up with gum disease if they aren’t careful, some people are more susceptible than others. Oral hygiene is the most obvious factor in the development of periodontal disease, but there are other issues at play. Knowing both the risk factors and the symptoms of gum disease can empower you to make the best oral hygiene choices, like visiting a periodontist in Pittsburgh if you think you are showing signs.
Risk Factors for Gum Disease
- Genetics: This one can be frustrating, as there’s very little you can do directly to change your genes. However, recognizing that gum disease is common in your family or that you are especially susceptible to it can at least warn you to take extra care with other risk factors.
- Old Age: People become more susceptible to certain diseases over time. At the same time, since gum disease is progressive and self-aggravating, any infection you do develop will worsen over time, so your chances of serious gum disease also increase as you get older. As you age, have your dentist pay more attention to the health of your gums.
- Stress: Stress makes it harder for your body to fight off infection, including gum disease.
- Bruxism: Involuntarily clenching or grinding can speed up the spread of gum disease and weaken the supporting structures of the teeth.
- Medications: Medications can alter hormone levels, cause dry mouth, affect the body’s immune response, and much more. Oral contraceptives, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications are three common medications that can influence your oral health. Talk to Dr. Silberg about the medications you’re using to learn which may be connected to a greater risk of gum disease.
- Nutrition: When you eat unhealthy foods, it can hurt the efficiency of your immune system. Eating healthy can keep your immune system strong so you’re better able to fight off infections.
- Tobacco: Tobacco use may be one of the most significant and dangerous risk factors for gum disease. Tobacco products increase the amount of tartar found on teeth, which is directly related to gum disease formation. They also dry out the mouth and affect oral healing. To give your gums their best chance, limiting or eliminating tobacco use is a major step.
If you are more at risk for gum disease, make sure you take special care to protect your mouth. Keep an eye out for the symptoms of gum disease, such as swollen, red, tender, and bleeding gums that are sensitive to eating and brushing. Other possible symptoms include bad breath or a receding gum line. Even if you don’t see these signs yet, don’t skip your regular dental exams. Cleanings and checkups help us catch the infection before it becomes severe.
If you develop gum disease, we can help. The Silberg Center for Dental Science offers Pittsburgh gum disease treatment that can get your health back on track. Schedule an appointment and see why Dr. Silberg has been voted Top Dentist in Pittsburgh.