Understanding the Causes of Poor Gum Health

By Yamen Akhras on October 12, 2017

Illustration of dental laser surgeryHealthy gums are just as important as healthy teeth. Periodontal disease and recession can have an adverse effect on your oral health, resulting in aesthetic concerns, mobility, and even tooth loss. In fact, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adult patients.

At our Orland Park, IL practice, Dr. Yamen Akhras offers a variety of dental services to help combat gum disease and improve the health of your smile. In addition to regular dental exams and cleanings, it is also important to understand the causes of poor gum health. By identifying risk factors and making a few lifestyle changes, you can prevent gum disease from affecting your oral health.

Poor Oral Hygiene Habits

One of the most common causes of gingivitis and periodontal disease is poor oral hygiene. The plaque that collects around the teeth and along the gum line carries bacteria that cause infection. Proper brushing and flossing is essential for good oral health, but it is especially important for patients who are prone to gum disease. In addition to regular cleanings, it is vital to develop excellent brushing and flossing techniques. Our team can help you design an at-home regimen that will adequately serve your needs between visits.

Aggressive Brushing and Flossing

It is possible to brush too hard or floss too aggressively. We always recommend using a soft toothbrush to protect the enamel and your gum tissue. Brushing too hard can result in gum recession, a condition in which the gum tissue pulls away from the teeth, and makes the crowns of the teeth appear longer.

In the same way, flossing can cause irritation and recession if the floss is too thin. Extra fine floss that resembles fishing wire should be avoided, as it can cut the gum tissue. We can help you decide which type of toothbrush and floss will be most helpful for your situation.

Dry Mouth

Also known as xerostomia, dry mouth can increase the risk of gum disease. Saliva promotes a healthy mouth. In its absence, problems such as gingivitis and tooth decay can occur. If you have dry mouth, staying hydrated is especially important. There are also products on the market that help alleviate xerostomia. If you experience dry mouth caused by medications or other conditions, be sure to discuss it with your doctor.

Teeth Grinding

Also referred to as bruxism, teeth grinding puts excessive stress on the teeth and gums. If left untreated, gum recession can develop over time. If you clench or grind your teeth, talk to your doctor about fabricating a custom mouth guard. When worn during sleep, a mouth guard protects your teeth and gums from the excess pressure, relieving aches and pains as well.

Crooked Teeth

If your teeth are not in proper alignment, bacteria can become trapped in certain areas, resulting in inflammation and gingivitis. Additionally, crooked teeth are more prone to recession and bruxism. Orthodontic treatments can be performed to improve the alignment of your teeth for a beautiful and healthy smile.

Medications

One of the most common side effects of certain medications is dry mouth. However, some drugs can also cause oral lesions, gum discoloration, and inflammation of the gum tissue. Be sure to discuss all current medications with your dentist.

Hormone Fluctuations

The cycle of life involves occasional changes in hormones. Many women notice gum irritation or gingivitis during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Routine cleanings and proper hygiene can combat gingivitis before it develops into periodontal disease.

Family History

Patients who have family members with periodontal disease are far more likely to develop it themselves. More frequent dental cleanings may be recommended for patients who are genetically prone to gum issues.

Diabetes

Patients who suffer from diabetes are more susceptible to gum disease. Closely monitoring your blood sugar levels and maintaining good oral health can help promote overall wellness.

Tobacco Products

It is no secret that smoking or the use of chewing tobacco significantly increases the risk for gum disease. These products impede healing and wreak havoc on your oral health. Ask your doctor for resources on how to kick the habit for good.

Learn More about Your Gum Health

If you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease, schedule a consultation with Dr. Akhras. You can contact us online anytime, or call our office at (708) 873-9709.

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Orland Park Office

15110 Windsor Dr
Orland Park, IL 60462

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