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Causes of Gum Disease

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Patients in Asheville ask, "What are the causes of gum disease?"

Gum disease may begin as a mild to moderate infection of the gums, tissues, and bones that provide the foundation for the teeth. Left untreated, gum disease can have a significant impact on a patient's overall physical health with many connections to conditions such as heart disease, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.

Gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums, is generally the precursor to periodontitis. If excessive plaque builds in the mouth, bacteria grow and attack the gums, causing irritation and bleeding when brushing or flossing. Unless gingivitis is addressed, it can progress into periodontitis, which causes the inner layer of the gums and bone to recede from the teeth and create pockets, which can accumulate debris and develop infection. Plaque can spread beneath the gum line. The body's defense system delivers enzymes to fight the infection and mix with the toxins in the bacteria. This process can erode the bone and connective tissues that support the teeth. Without the strong structure of gums and bone, the teeth loosen and fall out.

Periodontal disease is the number one cause of adult tooth loss. While plaque is the main cause of gum disease, certain factors can increase a patient's risk, some beyond the patient's control. These contributing factors include:
  • Smoking and use of any tobacco products
  • Genetics - a family history of gingivitis may make a patient more susceptible
  • Hormonal fluctuations - pregnancy, menopause, and even menopause or menstruation, may increase vulnerability because the gums become more sensitive
  • Health conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiac disease, cancer, and auto-immune disease
  • Inadequate oral hygiene such as avoiding regularly scheduled visits to a dental health professional or not brushing or flossing
  • Prescription medications such as anti-depressants or those that cause dry mouth
At Asheville Smile Center, we recognize that over 50 percent of Americans suffer from some sort of gum disease. Dr. Christopher Port and Dr. Michael Hernandez are dedicated to educating and helping patients to prevent gum disease and oral health problems. Providing a comprehensive menu of complete dental care, our professional team offers a welcoming and friendly environment so that our patients feel comfortable scheduling regular visits so that we can assess and address early signs of potential oral health concerns.

Call Asheville Smile Center today and schedule a thorough consultation at (828) 585-4049.

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