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What Factors Affect Your Risk Of Gum Disease?

Posted on February 1st, 2016

Last month, the Powerball lottery drawing climbed to $1.5 billion dollars. In theory, you could spend a couple bucks to get your numbers and walk away with more money than you could spend in a lifetime.

Spending a few dollars (note that we said a few) on lottery numbers is relatively low-risk situation. According to the Wall Street Journal, your odds of having the winning numbers are 1 in 292 million.  You know going in that you probably won’t win, but if you do … well, it’s hard to imagine how your life will change.

On the other hand, periodontal disease is a high-risk situation with a much higher probability. Your odds of having gums disease are 4 in 5, according to the American Dental Hygienists Association.

It may not be fair, but some people are more likely to develop gum disease than others. Fortunately, the team at Atlanta West Dentistry in Marietta can help you turn back the damage of gum disease and show you how to keep it under control.

Your odds of getting gum disease are pretty high already, but we want you to know if your odds may be worse than that average patient.

‘How Often Do You Floss?’

If you’ve ever been asked that question by a dentist or hygienist, then it’s because they are concerned. More than likely he or she has seen signs of gum disease already.

The question isn’t meant as a judgement, but rather as the start of a conversation. If we notice red, swollen gums or your gums bleed easily during a routine cleaning, then you may have gingivitis, which is a mild form of periodontal disease.

This can be treated many times by improving your daily oral care routine. This is why dental professionals so often stress the importance of brushing your teeth twice each day and flossing or using another interdental device to clean between your teeth and gums daily.

Without treatment, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis. Those symptoms are more severe. They include:

  • Constant bad breath
  • Gums that pull away from your teeth
  • Pockets between your teeth and gums
  • Sores inside your mouth
  • Teeth that feel loose or sensitive
  • Changes in your tooth alignment

Advanced gum disease can weaken the bone that holds the roots of your teeth in place. This can cause your teeth to shift, feel loose, and eventually fall out.

Factors That Affect Your Risk Of Gum Disease

We presented a quick overview of the possible problems that arise from mild and advanced gum disease. Now we want to discuss some factors that may make you more likely to develop gum disease.

Some are behavioral; others are not.

▶︎ Poor oral hygiene

This may go without saying. If you don’t care for your mouth properly, then you are more likely to develop problems.

A survey taken last year found that 20 percent of Americans never floss their teeth, and another 40 percent do not floss daily (which is what the American Dental Association recommends).

▶︎ Tobacco Use

We hope you are aware that using tobacco is bad for your health. The American Dental Hygienist Association tried to explain how bad this is for your gums in a short informational article.

Smoking half a pack of cigarettes daily makes you three times more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers. For pack-and-a-half per day smokers, that risk is six times higher than non-smokers.

Smokeless tobacco users have problems, too. Twenty-seven percent (more than 1 in 4 people) have signs of gum recession (gums pulling away from their teeth) and bone loss.

▶︎ Diabetes

In one of last month’s blog posts, we wrote about the connections between diabetes and gum disease. People with diabetes are more likely to have gum disease, and gum disease can make it more difficult to control your blood sugar levels.

We also pointed out that statistics used by America’s Health Rankings show that diabetes rates in Georgia have more than tripled in the past 20 years.

▶︎ Genetics

You can’t control your genes, and some families have a history of gum disease. While this may mean that your are more susceptible to developing gum disease, you can still prevent it.

If you are aware that this is a problem in your family, it should motivate you to pay particular attention to the warning signs of the early stages of gum disease. Taking preventive steps can save you from a lot of problems later.

▶︎ Going through hormone changes

This can be a particular problem for women at different times in their lives. Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause are all times when females are more likely to develop gum disease.

This does not mean you will develop gum disease during these times, but it is a reminder that oral care should remain important throughout all our lives.

Get Treated

If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, make plans to visit Atlanta West Dentistry as soon as you can.

Our dentist office, located in Marietta, GA, offers nonsurgical periodontal treatment to remove infected tissue and reverse the problems caused by gum disease.

To make an appointment, call us at (770) 941-6979 or fill out our online form.