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Daly City area dentist explains risk factors for gum disease

Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is inflammation of the gingival (gum) tissue that, if left untreated, can affect the bone and tissues that support the teeth. It is estimated that 75 percent of adults in Daly City, and across the nation, have some stage of gum disease. Some of the factors that increase the risk for gum disease include:
  • Poor oral hygiene – Lack of effective oral hygiene practices allows plaque formation and buildup of harmful bacteria.
  • Diet – The disease causing bacteria thrive on acidic and sugary foods.
  • Tooth or restoration abnormalities – Poor contours create traps for bacteria and debris.
  • Wisdom teeth – These teeth are located at the very back of the mouth, making them extremely difficult to clean properly. Patients who have their wisdom teeth should be checked regularly for periodontal disease.
  • Hormones – Women are especially susceptible to gum disease due to fluctuation in hormone levels during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Additionally, some oral contraceptives increase the risk of this disease.
  • Genetics – Studies have found that heredity plays a role in the development of gum disease. Children are 12 times more likely to have the disease causing bacteria if their parents have periodontitis.
  • Tobacco use – Studies have indicated that nicotine reduces oxygen in the gingival tissue, increasing inflammation and triggering over production of cytokines, which can be harmful to tissue and cells when present in excessive amounts.
  • Medical conditions – Diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, herpes, HIV, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, tuberculosis, and more, can increase the risk of gum disease significantly.
  • Medications – Over 20 different drugs, including Dilantin, cyclosporine, and Procardia can facilitate the development of gingival overgrowth.
  • Vitamin deficiencies – Deficiencies of certain vitamins, especially vitamin C, can increase the risk of gum disease.
  • Gum inflammation – Stress, alcohol abuse, canker sores, mouth breathing, and more can cause gum inflammation, which has been associated with gum disease.
Uncontrolled gum disease can ultimately lead to the loss of teeth and bone. Additionally, studies have found an association between gum disease and serious medical conditions including heart attack and stroke. Patients can help protect their oral and overall health by practicing effective oral hygiene and visiting their dentist regularly. Call 415-881-4343 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Arellano today.

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