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Understanding the Causes of Poor Gum Health

May 5, 2017 — by John Meola
Tags: Gum Disease Restorative Dentistry

A woman examining her teeth and gums in the mirrorThe health of your gums has a profound effect not only on your oral health but on the health of your entire body. Unfortunately, gum disease remains the most common of all diseases among American adults, affecting roughly three-quarters of the population to some degree. Equally unfortunately, periodontitis - the more advanced stage of gum disease - is the number-one cause of tooth loss among adults. While missing teeth can effectively be replaced with state-of-the-art dental implants, it is far preferable to achieve and maintain optimal gum health in the first place.

At Dental Associates of New England, we provide a comprehensive range of treatments designed to help our patients improve their gum health. This includes educating them about the causes of poor gum health during their appointments at our Boston, MA cosmetic, restorative, and general dentistry practice. By knowing the causes of poor gum health, patients can actively work to avoid them and keep their gums in prime condition between visits to our practice.

If you would like to learn how we can help you achieve and maintain optimal gum health, please schedule your initial consultation at Dental Associates of New England today.

What Are the Most Typical Causes of Gum Disease?

In general, gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky film that builds up on your teeth and comprises millions of bacteria. Plaque has the potential to cause damage to all of the structures within your mouth, including your gums and your teeth. Although you can remove much of the plaque from your teeth by brushing and flossing after each meal, there are some areas where plaque can hide that your toothbrush and dental floss cannot reach. When plaque is allowed to build up over time, it will eventually harden into a substance called tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional. This is why it is so important for people to visit the dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings and comprehensive oral exams.

Everyone is susceptible to plaque. However, there are other factors that can combine with plaque to cause gum disease, including:

  • Smoking: People who smoke or use other forms of tobacco increase their risk for gum disease by introducing millions of bacteria and other toxins into their mouths through their habit.
  • Genetics: Up to 30 percent of people may be genetically predisposed to gum disease, according to a 2000 study.
  • Bruxism: Bruxism, or chronic teeth grinding, can cause the gum tissues to break down, making them more vulnerable to gum disease.
  • Age: People over the age of 65 are more likely to develop gum disease, largely due to the reduced amount of saliva their mouths are able to produce.
  • Certain medications: People who take antidepressants and certain heart medications are at heightened risk for gum disease.

Learn More about the Causes of Poor Gum Health

If you would like to learn more about the causes of poor gum health, please contact Dental Associates of New England today.