At Ridgewood Dental Associates, we offer a full range of exceptional general dentistry procedures to help our patients establish solid foundations of good oral health on which they can build beautiful smiles that will last a lifetime. Among these procedures are numerous treatments for the delicate periodontal, or gum, tissues. This is because healthy gums are fundamental to good overall oral health, and they are actually an essential component in good overall body health, as well. Yet, nearly 75 percent of all American adults suffer from gum disease to varying degrees, making it the most common disease in the nation.
While gum disease can certainly be treated, especially if it is caught in its earliest stages, the best cure for gum disease is prevention. And the key to prevention, along with twice-a-year visits to our office for professional cleanings and thorough oral exams, is knowledge. By knowing the most common gum disease risk factors, our Ridgewood patients can exert some control over their own oral health, doing whatever they can to avoid this most dangerous of dental conditions.
We invite you to read about the following gum disease risk factors and then schedule your initial periodontal screening at Ridgewood Dental Associates.
What are the most common risk factors for gum disease?
First, it is important to note that there are two basic types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the less severe and easiest to treat of the two. Patients with gingivitis are also at extreme risk of developing periodontitis, the more severe and complex to treat form of gum disease. Patients with periodontitis face the risk of tooth loss, severe gum infections that can spread to other tissues throughout the body, and a variety of other oral and overall health conditions.
Other gum disease risk factors include:
- Smoking and other tobacco use: We’ll begin this list with a risk factor that people can control. If you smoke, you are putting your gums - not to mention your lungs, heart, and other organs - at risk for disease. Cigarette smoke is filled with bacteria and toxins that can cause serious damage to your gums and other oral tissues.
- Obesity: Another risk factor that is within most people’s control, obesity increases the risk of periodontal disease and compromises the body’s ability to defend itself against infection.
- Age: This may not be under your control, but if you are over the age of 65, you should be aware that you are especially vulnerable to periodontitis, the more advanced type of gum disease. More than 70 percent of Americans in that age group have periodontitis according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is particularly important that you visit our practice at least twice a year for check-ups.
- Genetics: Unfortunately, many people are born with a genetic susceptibility to gum disease. Again, being proactive in visiting our practice can help such people maintain good oral health for a lifetime.
- Bruxism: Bruxism is the clinical term for chronic teeth grinding, which can cause the gum tissues to break down more quickly than they otherwise would. A custom crafted night guard from our practice can help to protect the gums from the effects of bruxism during sleep.
- Heart and other diseases: People with heart disease, diabetes, and certain other diseases are more likely to suffer from gum disease than those without such diseases.
Learn More about Gum Disease Risk Factors
To learn more about gum disease risk factors, please contact Ridgewood Dental Associates today.