Gum disease is not at all uncommon. In fact, 70 per cent of Canadians will develop gum disease during their lifetime. While gum disease is more prevalent in older Canadians, this isn’t simply an unavoidable part of aging. There are many things that you can do to prevent and treat gum disease. Understanding gum disease and taking the proper precautions now will go a long way toward protecting your health. Updated for 2019, read this newly updated and expanded blog to learn more.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. As plaque builds up at the base of the tooth, it can begin to grow beneath the gum line. Over time, untreated gum disease can cause permanent damage to the gum tissue and may even result in tooth loss.
There are two primary types of gum disease. The first — gingivitis — is milder. You may have gingivitis without any discomfort or noticeable symptoms. This is why it’s important to see your dentist on a regular basis. Though you may not see the signs of gum disease, the professional providers in our network will. Periodontitis is a more severe form of gum disease that may develop when gingivitis goes untreated.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by plaque buildup that typically results from poor oral hygiene. The most effective way to prevent gum disease is by brushing at least twice a day and flossing regularly. This will remove plaque from your teeth. You should also see your dentist at least twice a year for a professional cleaning. During this appointment, your dentist will remove both plaque and a form of hardened plaque known as tartar. Tartar cannot be removed by at-home brushing and flossing.
There are several factors that may increase your risk of developing gum disease. These include:
- Hormonal changes in women.
- Medications that reduce saliva production.
Since gum disease takes time to develop, it’s naturally more prevalent in older Canadians. As you get older, this is something you should be particularly mindful of.