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What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, affects somewhere around half of Americans over 30. Gum disease is a condition with swollen and bleeding gums that occurs when gums are infected by bacteria. This infection can spread beyond the gums to all of the surrounding structures, potentially causing further tooth loss and other more serious health issues.

What are the Causes of Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is a result of the bacteria that forms in dental plaque. When your body attempts to get rid of this bacteria, your immune system releases substances that tend to harm the gums and cause them to bleed. Maintaining great oral hygiene is the best way to prevent gum disease. This includes daily brushing and flossing and regular visits for dental cleanings. Some of the factors that increase your gum disease risk include:

    •    Smoking – Those who use tobacco or smoke are more likely to have problems with gum disease. This is because these individuals often have more tartar buildup on their teeth.

    •    Stress – Because stress weakens your immune system, stress can be a factor in how likely you are to have trouble with gum disease.

    •    Lack of Nutrition – If you are lacking certain vitamins, including vitamin C, you are more likely to have issues with periodontal disease.

    •    Hormonal Changes – When your hormones are changing, for example, if you are pregnant, your mouth will also be affected and your gums will become more tender.

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