Beyond Poor Oral Hygiene: Other Risk Factors for Gum Disease

Some people seem to get gum disease despite impeccable oral hygiene. If you are one of those people, then you should know that poor oral hygiene is not the only risk factor for gum disease. Here are other things that elevate your risk of gum disease.

1. Xerostomia

Xerostomia is characterized by chronic low saliva production. Some of the things that can dry your mouth include medication, diseases, dehydration, and mouth breathing, among other things. Bacteria thrive in dry mouths because there is no saliva to wash them off the teeth. The more bacteria there are in your mouth, the more likely they are to attack and damage your gums.

2. Tobacco Use

Tobacco increases your risk of gum disease whether you smoke or chew it. Smoking tobacco doubles your risk of gum disease. The effect comes in several ways. For example, smoking dries your mouth, and a dry mouth is a haven for bacteria as explained above. Also, smoking increases the depth of the gum pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) where bacteria can hide.

3. Malocclusion

Occlusion is the arrangement of the teeth; malocclusion is the poor arrangement of teeth. Malocclusion increases the risk of gum disease because it complicates oral hygiene. For example, if your teeth are overcrowded, your brush or floss might fail to clean all the surfaces. The food that remains between the teeth will feed bacteria that will attack your teeth and trigger gum disease.

4. Stress

Stress, in its various forms, can increase your risk of gum disease in several ways. For example, stress leads to a dry mouth, and a dry mouth can lead to gum disease. Secondly, stress can weaken your immune system, which means bacteria can easily attack your gums. If you're dealing with heavy, long-term stress, you might start to see signs of gum disease. 

5. Hormonal Changes

An increase in some hormones or a change in your hormonal balance can also elevate your risk of gum disease. The effect is especially noticeable in women who experience hormonal changes when pregnant, menstruating, or during menopause. The hormonal changes increase blood flow to the gums, which makes the gums swell and become tender. This increases the tissues' susceptibility to bacterial attack.

6. Poor Diet

Lastly, diet is also a big deal when it comes to gum disease. Bacteria feed on sugar so a diet rich in sugar can increase the number of bacteria in your mouth. Therefore, constantly eating, drinking, and snacking on sugary foods and drinks increases your risk of gum disease.

As you can see, everyone should be in constant lookout for gum disease since it has numerous risk factors. Contact local dental services if you have recently noticed signs of gum disease so you can deal with it early.