Gum Disease: Causes and Prevention
One of the conditions we always look for when you come in for your regular dental checkup is signs of periodontal disease. Why? Many oral health problems can be greatly reduced or eliminated altogether with early detection and treatment.
One of these is gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums around the teeth. Not only can this condition be painful due to heightened sensitivity, but it can affect the health of other soft tissue and bones in the oral cavity. These are collectively known as the periodontium (per-ee-uh-DON-shum).
In extreme cases where the infection has spread from the gums into adjacent tissues of the face, neck and bone, the condition is known as acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis. It's common name is trench mouth.
Gingivitis occurs when the bacteria that is commonly found in the mouth starts to infect the soft tissues and bones. Causes can include plaque formation around the teeth, illnesses or medication for illnesses that lower immune defenses, hormonal changes, and poor oral hygiene.
Not all causes of gingivitis are within a person's control, but many are. One of the most effective ways to prevent it is through routine, comprehensive oral care. Regular brushing and flossing will greatly reduce the likelihood of developing this disease. Keeping your immune system strong is another. Researchers are exploring the links between the immune system and diet, exercise, stress and other factors.
Regular dental checkups are important. Early detection along with improved dental hygiene can often head off the progression of oral disease.