The Common Causes of Poor Gum Health

February 25, 2017 — by Dr. Nathaniel Podilsky
Tags: General Dentistry Restorative Dentistry

A mouth being examined with a dental mirrorWhen it comes to oral health, most people focus on the teeth. However, it's important to remember that the gums also play an important role in the health of the smile. Properly caring for the gums is essential to protecting gum and overall oral health. General dentistry treatments can prevent oral health problems and help patients maintain a beautiful smile. You can better care for your gums by understanding the causes of poor gum health. Edmonton, AB dentist Nathaniel Podilsky explains the causes of poor gum health and provides tips to help you protect your oral health.

What Causes Poor Gum Health?

Gum disease is one of the biggest concerns regarding gum health. When gum disease is present, the gums (and teeth) are at risk of serious damage. By understanding the causes of poor gum health, it may be possible to prevent gum disease and protect the smile. Some common causes of poor gum health include:

  • Poor oral hygiene: Poor oral hygiene, such as not brushing twice a day or failing to floss the teeth daily, is one of the leading causes of poor gum health. Flossing is particularly important as those who only brush and do not floss daily are more likely to develop gum disease.
  • Hormonal changes: The hormonal changes experienced during pregnancy, menopause, puberty, or a woman's menstrual cycle can affect the gums, increasing the risk of gum disease.
  • Dry mouth: Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is a condition in which the salivary glands don't produce sufficient amounts of saliva. Without sufficient saliva, food debris and bacteria are allowed to buildup on the teeth and gums, resulting in gum disease. 
  • Smoking: Smoking impacts the body's ability to heal and fight infection, while also causing dry mouth. Both of these issues can combine to increase the risk of gum disease.
  • Certain illnesses: Certain illnesses, specifically those impacting the immune system, can increase the risk of gum disease. Some illnesses to be aware of include HIV, cancer, and uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Genetics: Unfortunately, some people are more predisposed to gum health issues due to genetics. For these people, practicing good oral hygiene is important.

The Dangers of Poor Gum Health

Poor gum health can range from minor gum disease, called gingivitis, to a serious infection, called periodontitis. During the early stages, the gums may bleed when brushing and flossing. As gum disease progresses to periodontitis, the gums may pull away from the teeth and infection may spread to the jawbone, potentially leading to tooth loss. Clearly, poor gum health can have a serious impact on oral health and should be treated at the first signs of a problem.

Protect Your Gums and Oral Health

Practicing good oral hygiene habits is the best way to protect gum health. The teeth should be brushed at least twice a day, with special care being taken around the gum line. Holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle can help the bristles reach within the gum line to reduce the risk of plaque and tartar buildup, a leading cause of gum disease.

The teeth should also be flossed daily to remove plaque and food debris where brushing alone can't reach. Flossing is one of the best ways to protect gum health and should never be skipped. Finally, schedule a dental exam and cleaning every six months to ensure oral health issues are found early and treated immediately.

Schedule a Consultation

Restore your gum health with treatment from Dr. Podilsky. To find out more about your treatment options, we invite you to schedule a consultation today.