Periodontal Disease: Main Causes and Prevention

Written by: Paul Massari

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periodontal disease

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, occurs when an infection takes place. Essentially, the tissues that hold your teeth in their proper place will become infected. When this occurs, a person may experience soreness or bleeding gums. In the advanced stages, a person may experience pain when chewing, or worse – tooth loss. This is caused by a lack of proper dental hygiene wherein the plaque is allowed to harden on a person’s teeth.

What are the Main Causes of Tooth Loss?

Tooth loss and gum disease are both closely related. In fact, tooth decay and periodontal disease are the leading factors related to tooth loss. Let’s explore this further to understand:

  • Tooth decay: Cavities are, as explained by the Mayo Clinic, the decaying of the teeth. When this occurs, a small cavity can turn into a significant amount of tooth loss. When this is coupled with gum disease, much of the tooth can diminish causing it to become un-savable, or simply fall out.
  • Gum Disease: The Academy of Osseointegration states that periodontal disease is the most common reason for tooth loss. This occurs because the supporting bone becomes infected and will eventually start to deteriorate. When this occurs, a tooth may simply fall out, or be deemed too damaged to be repaired by a dentist.

As mentioned by the New York Department of Health, gum disease and cavities are the two leading causes of tooth loss. Commonly occurring at the same time, these dental issues will lead to tooth loss or immense decay. While this is typically caused by lack of brushing and flossing, there is also another common cause – tobacco use.

Tobacco Use and Gum Disease – Is There a Relationship?

While smokers know that tobacco can cause their teeth to yellow, there is also evidence that tobacco use can lead to tooth loss. Many people are unsure of just how significant this relationship is, but according to one viable source, it is the biggest cause of this disease.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, tobacco use is the leading cause of this disease. While smoking can cause the disease itself, it is more concerning to know that it can prevent treatments from working altogether. This means that no matter how often a person has a deep cleaning, visits the dentists or brushes their teeth, they may still have gum disease if they continue smoking.

How Can I Prevent This Problem?


Thankfully, gum disease is able to be prevented. Depending on the reasoning for it occurring, different approaches will need to be made to prevent the disease from occurring.

1. Caused by Tobacco

If a person has good dental hygiene but they smoke, they may still have this disease. The only method of prevention in this case is for a person to stop smoking. If smoking persists, even common treatments may not work to alleviate the problem.

2. Caused by Bad Dental Hygiene

Those that have bad dental hygiene will need to adhere to the dentist recommended brushing schedule of three times daily. This will ensure that the bacteria in your mouth does not lead to plaque build-up and will not be allowed to develop into gum disease. The following tips will help you maintain proper dental hygiene:

  • Brush your teeth for 2 minutes per session
  • Brush your teeth three times per day
  • Floss teeth at least once per day
  • Use a dentist recommended toothbrush or electric toothbrush.
  • If using an electric toothbrush, utilize deep cleaning modes once a week

Conclusion

Through proper dental hygiene, a person will be able to halt gum disease so that it is not allowed to develop in the first place. If tartar has developed, this can only be removed from a professional dentist.

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