Where Does Gum Disease Come From?
Gingivitis is the medical term for early gum disease, or periodontal disease. In general, gum disease can be caused by long-term exposure to plaque, the sticky but colorless film on teeth that forms after eating or sleeping.
Gum disease originates in the gums, where infections form from harmful bacteria and other materials left behind from eating. Early warning signs include:
- Chronic Bad Breath
- Tender or Painful Swollen Gums
- Bleeding After Brushing or Flossing
In many cases, however, gingivitis can go unnoticed. It is like diabetes and heart disease in that it can be largely a silent disease. By the time there is any pain, it is usually too late, and therefore gum disease is the #1 cause of tooth loss in adults. The infections can eventually cause the gums to separate from the teeth, creating even greater opportunities for infection and decay. But, in many cases, this gum deterioration and potential tooth loss is avoidable!
If gingivitis goes untreated, more serious problems such as abscesses, bone loss or periodontitis can occur.
Periodontitis is treated in a number of ways. One method, called root planing, involved cleaning and scraping below the gum line to smooth the roots. If effective, this procedure helps the gums reattach themselves to the tooth structure.
Pregnancy has also been known to cause a form of gingivitis. This has been linked to hormonal changes in the woman's body that promote plaque production, and an increased sensitivity to the plaque by the woman's body.
Genetics & Gum Disease
It is important to note that while genetics play a large role in determining who will or will not exhibit gum disease, this is no reason to give up or 'throw in the towel'. Genetics are but one factor affecting the outcome of any health condition like heart disease, gum disease, or diabetes.
Your good daily self-care (brushing at least twice, flossing at least once, and using an antiseptic mouthrinse), eating a healthy diet, and obtaining recommended professional therapy will all help to prevent gum disease from worsening. In many cases, this combination of factors may be able to control or eliminate almost all signs and/or progression of the disease. Bottom line: don't give up hope!