Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Will You Lose Your Teeth To Gum Disease-Just Like Your Parents?

How many of us remember our parents wearing dentures in their thirties and forties? I do! I wonder how often a dentist hears that from a patient on a daily basis.  Most of us in the baby boomer generation have at least one parent who lost their teeth due to gum disease. Now...treatment way back then wasn't what it is today. That said, we no longer have to accept that we'll lose our teeth too...or that we're doomed.
There are many factors that can put you at risk for gum disease.  Most can be controlled, some cannot.  One of the major factors in gum disease is heredity.  If you are predisposed to it, (maybe a parent or grandparent or a sibling has the disease) then try as you might to brush and floss and have regular dental visits, you may still wind up with some form of periodontal disease in your lifetime. That is not to say that it isn't manageable or treatable. Thanks to technology, there is even a form of genetic testing that can predict whether you are at risk!  As with any disease, early detection is the key to successful treatment. Just because your parents wore dentures at a young age doesn't mean that you will!

The following is a list of other factors, including genetics, that may put you at a greater risk of contracting gum disease:

Genetics - If a parent or grandparent has it, start early with regular cleanings and exams.  Stay with a healthy regimen to prevent it if possible. Aggressive prevention...this is key.

Age - People over 50 are at higher risk and among other things, bone loss and receding gums may play a role.

Medications - did you know there are certain heart medications, anti-depressants and certain types of birth control meds that can have an effect on your oral health?  Be sure to let your dentist know if you are taking these types of prescriptions.

Smoking and Chewing Tobacco - Chewing tobacco is pretty much a given for gum disease, but smoking can be just as bad.  If you are a tobacco user, you should probably have your teeth cleaned more often than the recommended twice per year. Being a smoker also puts you at higher risk for other oral infections.

Poor Nutrition - If you eat poorly or have a deficiency in certain vitamins and nutrients, you could be at risk for periodontal disease.

Inflammatory Diseases - Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and heart disease, as well as lupus, MS and many others can affect your oral health.  Not to mention viral diseases such as HIV or Hepatitis.  Good oral care is extremely important for anyone with a lowered immune system.

Bruxism/Teeth Grinding -  Many people do this unconsciously, day and night. It can facilitate a breaking down of the bone structure in the jaw and cause the gums to become irritated and infected. It is treatable!  Ask your dental provider about being fitted with a night-guard device that can help you to stop grinding!

Try to stay as informed as possible.  Talk to your dental care provider about prevention of gum disease.

Keep Smiling!

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