While most Canadians have proper dental care on their mind, many are still not brushing or flossing adequately. Here, our Ottawa dentists share some information about how poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease and how you can avoid it.

Gum Disease: What are the effects of periodontal disease?

Your bones and gum structures help to provide a solid base for your teeth. When these become compromised it can lead to serious issues. Gum disease is the leading cause of these concerns. When you hear your dentist talking about gingivitis, this is the most mild or moderate form of gum disease, and it only affects soft tissues.

More advanced forms of the disease infect bones and supporting structures of the teeth. If this isn't treated quickly it can result in the loss of your teeth.

What are the contributing factors?

There are a number of concerns that can lead to the development of gum disease, including plaque and bacteria buildup in the mouth, hormonal shifts, smoking, nutritional deficiencies, some prescription medications, uneven teeth and even genetics.

Bleeding gums are a clue that you may have gum disease, which is why you should schedule an appointment with your dentist if you notice that your gums are bleeding. Because your mouth contains millions of bacteria, great oral hygiene every day is a must - to disrupt the bacteria.

Bleeding gums happen because your body notes threats and sends excess blood to the affected area. The excess blood may cause swelling, soreness, bleeding and redness. Your body thinks it has an infection - this is called gingivitis, and it won't heal until the source of the infection is eliminated. 

Bacteria can be found in plaque, tartar or calculus, pockets beneath the gums (in cases of advanced gum disease), cavities, abscesses and chipped teeth. They may also hide in old dental work, as repairs to your teeth create an edge or margin that bacteria can adhere to. 

How can you avoid developing gum disease?

when it comes to preventing gum disease, the only sure way to avoid this condition is through a rigorous oral hygiene routine.

None of the above-listed factors alone can cause gum disease to develop and thrive. If you maintain a rigorous and thorough oral hygiene routine, this can make it difficult for the bacteria to build up and turn into gum disease.

For example, while you may be prone to plaque buildup (perhaps due to genetics), as long as you brush and floss your teeth twice a day and visit your dentist as prescribed for regular professional cleanings and checkups, chances are that gum disease will not be able to fully develop.

Whether a pregnancy causes a hormonal shift, you take prescription medication or are a regular smoker, the most common cause of gum disease is the unimpeded development of bacteria and plaque in the mouth.

Your oral hygiene routine will go a long way toward protecting your teeth, gums and oral structures again dental diseases. While the issues listed above can increase your risk (and make prevention more challenging), whether it actually develops comes down to the decisions you make every day about your oral health practices.

If you would like to learn more about your oral hygiene routine, please contact our Ottawa dentists today.

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