Gum disease is one of the most pervasive health issues (impacting 75% of patients over the age of 35!), yet many people don’t even realize they are at risk. Unfortunately, gum disease can have a serious impact on your overall health, as it can lead to heart and respiratory disease, stroke, complications with pregnancy and more if left untreated. Luckily, this disease is highly preventable—you just need to know the signs! Here are some factors to look out for that may increase your risk of gum disease.
1. You’re over the age of 65.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 70% of people over the age of 65 have some form of gum disease. Therefore, it is important for those in this age group to stick to regular check-ups with their dentist.
2. You are a smoker or use tobacco products.
Tobacco usage is linked to a number of health issues, including periodontal disease. In fact, studies have shown that smoking is one of the most significant predictors for the eventual development of gum disease. Unfortunately, smoking not only puts you at risk for gum disease, but it also can interfere with the successful treatment of the issue as well.
3. Your family has a history of gum disease.
Even with the best oral healthcare routine, some people just happen to be more prone to periodontal disease than others. Those who have a history of gum disease in their family should be particularly diligent about visiting the dentist every six months. This will allow them to catch gum disease in its earliest stages, should it occur, and take the necessary steps to intervene.
4. You suffer from chronic stress.
When you’re stressed, the hormone called cortisol is released, which can negatively impact your immune system. This allows bacteria to thrive—including those found in your mouth. These bacteria tend to inflame your gums, leading to the earliest stage of gum disease known as gingivitis. Should you leave this gingivitis unchecked, it can progress to gum disease.
5. You’re taking medication that can impact your oral health.
Certain oral contraceptives, heart medication, anti-depressants, and other medications can have an impact on your oral health. In particular, certain medications can cause dry mouth, making it more difficult for your glands to produce the saliva that is necessary to wash away bacteria from your teeth and gums. Therefore, it is important to update your dentist on your current medications when you go into to your biannual check-up.
6. You clench or grind your teeth in your sleep.
If you grind or clench your teeth at night, there is a chance that you are causing damage to your teeth and supporting tissues. Over time, bruxism (or teeth grinding) can cause your teeth to loosen, creating pockets in the gums that can harbor bacteria and irritate the gums.
7. You suffer from certain chronic diseases.
Systemic diseases that impact your body’s ability to fight off infection can also put you at higher risk for gum disease. If you have diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or cardiovascular disease, you may want to discuss this with your dentist to ensure prevention of gum disease and other oral health issues.
8. You eat a diet low in nutrients.
If your body is lacking in important nutrients, there is a chance you have a compromised immune system. This makes your body susceptible to many kinds of health issues, including infections of the gums.
If you have any of the above risk factors, be sure to call Valley Dental Care today to set up your appointment! By stopping in our Aurora or Oswego offices, we can help you to prevent gum disease and keep you in good oral health.