Gum disease can not only be an embarrassing nuisance, but it can also cause serious health problems. Gum disease is a blanket term that covers any disease that affects the gums, and there are a number of risk factors that might make you more susceptible to gum disease.
Certain medicines can cause the mouth to produce less saliva as a side effect. Antihistamines are a common over-the-counter medication that are well-known for causing salvia production to slow. Some anti-depressants are also know to restrict the flow of saliva. This in turn dries out your whole mouth. Without moisture, your gums will start to swell and dry out, making them a great breeding ground for germs The saliva that you produce natural works to wash your gums and teeth of large particles of food, as well as keeping them moist.
It is extremely important to read about the possible side effects of any medication that you may be ingesting. Determine if the natural production of saliva will be impeded by your medication. If this is the case, then you should try to ingest as much water as you can to in order to keep your mouth artificially moist, and avoid this complication. Chewing gum, when possible, will also help aid in saliva production.
Another causative factor that results from certain medications is if your medications promote abnormally high levels of gum growth. Anti-eplieptic medications, medications used to prevent seizures, will cause unnatural gum growth. Medications that are used for heart issues are also known to have gum growth as a side effect.
This unwanted side effect causes the tissue of the gums grow at an accelerated rate, resulting in gums that cover the teeth and make regularly cleaning of the teeth and gums more difficult at home, which in turn can cause gum disease. If your medication causes high gum tissue growth then you should regularly visit a dentist to check your gums for any signs of gum disease, as well as to get a thorough cleaning on the areas under the gums where you can't properly reach
Diabetes puts you at risk for gum disease for a few reasons. For one, diabetes can weaken the immune system and will make you susceptible to a variety of opportunistic infections. These infections can include gum disease. If you do not control your blood sugar properly your mouth will be saturated with high glucose levels. Bacteria in the mouth love to feed off of glucose, and can quickly grow out of control. Diabetes also restricts the flow of blood to the gums, making it harder for your gums to remove waste and nurture your gums. Talk to your dentist or gum disease specialist on ways to counteract this side effect.
You can keep yourself from contracting diabetes by making sure that you limit your intake of sugary food and keeps your weight down to a healthy level. Keeping yourself from gaining weight can be achieved by eating a healthy diet and regularly exercising. Even such a simple activity, like going for a walk regularly, can help elevate your heart rate and get the calories to start burning. To burn a good amount of calories to maintain a healthy weight, you should walk once a day for 30 minutes at a pace where you could carry a conversation, but be unable to sing.
Unfortunately, some people have a genetic predisposition for the development of gum disease. If you are unfortunate enough to have genetics that predispose you to the development of gum disease then it is vital that you regularly visit your dentist to check your gums regularly, regardless of how well you care for them. This is one risk factor that cannot be avoided, and it is up to you to be proactive to prevent disease.
Smoking is a major causative factor in the contraction of gum disease. Smoking damages the mucous membranes of your oral cavity very quickly. This damage makes the membranes more weak, and allows bacteria to more easily infiltrate. Gum disease is more likely to effect smokers, as their mouth naturally has weaker defenses to protect against it.
Brushing your teeth and regularly flossing, as well as using high strength mouthwash, will help reduce, but not prevent, the chances of you contracting gum disease. If you are a smoker, it is very important that you visit the dentist every 6 months. Due to the damage you are causing your mouth, gum disease can quickly develop in-between visits, and it is better for the dentist to catch it early before it progresses to periodontitis. Periodontitis causes the gums to pull away from your teeth and allows the breakdown of the connective tissues and bones that are keeping your teeth where they should be.
Understanding the risk factors for gum disease helps you to take preventative measures, and just better care of your oral health in general, so that you can avoid more serious problems in the long run. For more information of how to keep your gums healthy, talk to your dentist!