Causes of Gum Disease

Periodontal (gum) disease, which is also known as periodontitis, is a progressive disease that, if left untreated, may result in tooth loss. Gum disease begins with the inflammation and irritation of the gingival tissues which surround and support the teeth. The cause of this inflammation is the toxins found in plaque which cause an ongoing bacterial infection. Martinez Dental Solutions treats this destructive disease. Request an appointment today by calling one of our Jacksonville offices.

How Gum Disease Progresses

The bacterial infection colonizes in the gingival tissue, and deep pockets form between the teeth and the gums. If treated promptly by a periodontist, the effects of mild inflammation, known as gingivitis, are completely reversible. However, if the bacterial infection is allowed to progress, periodontal disease begins to destroy the gums and the underlying jawbone, promoting tooth loss. In some cases, the bacteria from this infection can travel to other areas of the body via the bloodstream.

Common Causes of Periodontal (Gum) Disease

There are genetic and environmental factors involved in the onset of gum disease, and in many cases, the risk of developing periodontitis can be significantly lowered by taking preventative measures.

Here are some of the most common causes of gum disease:

Preventing dental disease starts at home with good oral hygiene and a balanced diet. Regular dental visits which include exams, cleanings, and digital X-rays, are also an effective way to prevent periodontitis. A combination of excellent home care and professional dental care will preserve the natural dentition and support bony structures. When bacteria and calculus (tartar) are not removed, the gums and bone around the teeth become affected by bacteria toxins and can cause gingivitis or periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss.
Research has indicated that smoking and tobacco use is one of the most significant factors in the development and progression of gum disease. In addition to smokers experiencing a slower recovery and healing rate, smokers are far more likely to suffer from calculus (tartar) build-up on teeth, deep pockets in the gingival tissue, and significant bone loss.
Despite practicing rigorous oral hygiene routines, as much as 30% of the population may have a strong genetic predisposition to gum disease. These individuals are six times more likely to develop periodontal disease than individuals with no genetic predisposition. Genetic tests can be used to determine susceptibility and early intervention can be performed to keep the oral cavity healthy.
During pregnancy, regular brushing and flossing are critical. Hormonal changes experienced by the body can cause the gum tissue to become more sensitive, rendering it susceptible to gum disease.
Stress lowers the ability of the immune system to fight off disease, which means bacterial infections may possibly beat the body’s defense system. Poor diet or malnutrition can also lower the body’s ability to fight periodontal infections, as well as negatively affect the health of the gums.
Many medical conditions can intensify or accelerate the onset and progression of gum disease, including respiratory disease, heart disease, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Diabetes hinders the body’s ability to utilize insulin, which makes the bacterial infection in the gums more difficult to control and cure.
The clenching or grinding of teeth can significantly damage the supporting tissue surrounding the teeth. Grinding one’s teeth is usually associated with a “bad bite” or the misalignment of the teeth. When an individual is suffering from gum disease, the additional destruction of gingival tissue due to grinding can accelerate the progression of the disease.
Many drugs including oral contraceptive pills, heart medicines, anti-depressants, and steroids affect the overall condition of teeth and gums, making them more susceptible to gum disease. Steroid use promotes gingival overgrowth, which makes swelling more commonplace and allows bacteria to colonize more readily in the gum tissue.

Treatment of Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Periodontists specialize in the treatment of gum disease and the placement of dental implants. A periodontist can perform effective cleaning procedures in deep pockets such as scaling and root planing, and also prescribe antibiotic and antifungal medications to treat infection and halt the progression of the disease.

In the case of tooth loss, the periodontist is able to perform tissue grafts to promote natural tissue regeneration and insert dental implants if a tooth or several teeth are missing. Where gum recession causes a “toothy” looking smile, the periodontist can recontour the gingival tissue to create an even and aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Preventing periodontal disease is critical in preserving natural dentition. Addressing the causes of gum disease and discussing them with your dentist will help prevent the onset, progression, and recurrence of periodontal disease.

Why Choose Us?

  • Our comprehensive dental exams include a review of tooth and gum health, dental cleanings, flossing, and cancer detection
  • Our dentists are caring and thoughtful professionals that provide dental solutions that are second-to-none
  • We only use the highest quality materials, most advanced technology, and first-rate dentistry practices

First-Rate Periodontal Gum Disease Treatment in Jacksonville

If you have any questions or concerns about the causes or treatments pertaining to gum disease, call us or request an appointment today. We gladly serve Orange Park, San Marco, Southside, Middleburg, Neptune Beach, and the entire Jacksonville area with our dental exams, cleaning and prevention solutions, dental restorations, and cosmetic dentistry services such as composite fillings, fixed bridges, and porcelain veneers.

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