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Periodontitis: Know the Risk Factors

Periodontitis: Know the Risk Factors

Most of us are sufficiently aware that plaque is a leading cause of gum disease. However, there are a multitude of other risk factors to consider, that can all contribute to periodontitis, or advanced gum disease. We’ve listed seven of these risk factors below to help you stay on top of your oral health and wellbeing!

1. Is it in Your Genes?

In some cases, a person with consistent, thorough oral hygiene practices, can still be at a higher risk for periodontitis. Simply put, some people are genetically susceptible to gum disease. Are you aware of any oral or related medical conditions that run in your family?

2. Age, Always a Factor

Studies have shown that periodontal disease is more prevalent in older people. However, younger people still should be on the lookout for signs and symptoms.

3. Too Much Stress

When we’re stressed, our bodies have a more difficult time fighting off infection. Infections and illness will also linger longer when stressed, until our immune system is strong enough to fight them.

4. Prescribed Medications

If you’re prescribed medication, read labels carefully. Some medications have side effects that impact on your health. Be sure to keep your dentist in the loop; if you’re on medication, let them know what you’re taking. An extremely common side effect from medications that directly affects your oral health is dry mouth. With decreased saliva production, bacteria have the chance to thrive and cause decay and gum problems. 

5. Smoking/Tobacco Use

As if tobacco isn’t already associated with enough health concerns, periodontal disease is one of them! Tobacco users are at a significantly increased risk of developing gum disease. Not only does tobacco harm your oral health, but the act of smoking increases the chance of dry mouth - creating the ideal environment for plaque to grow.  Smoking also affects your immune cell response to oral bacteria, making the problem worse.

6. Poor Nutrition

Your body’s immune system needs specific nutrients in order to function at your optimal level. If your immune system is compromised, your body is at risk for infection. The best way to stay on top of your nutrition is to ensure your body is getting the following nutrients; whole grains, healthy fats, lean protein, water, vegetables, and fruits.

7. Poor Oral Health Habits

Poor oral hygiene is a surefire way to future oral health issues, one of them being periodontal disease. Keep up with proper oral hygiene routines, and regularly visit your dentist. Depending on the individual, you’ll likely see your dentist twice a year, or every six months. If you’re dealing with the beginning of an infection or are prone to bacteria growth, your dentist may want to schedule a cleaning and checkup more often.  If you develop periodontal disease, you may be referred to a specialist (periodontist) for evaluation and treatment.

Sometimes gum disease begins without any warning signs, so it’s critical to practice preventive dentistry. If you’re dealing with excess bacteria, talk to your dentist! They may recommend that you visit a periodontist - like us, here at San Antonio Periodontics & Implants. We’ll help you stay informed and keep on top of your oral health!

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