Oral Health Buzz
Family History Affects Your Risk for Gum Disease
If you have a family history of gum disease, then you are more likely to have problems with your gums. According to the American Dental Association, genetics is a risk factor for developing gum disease. This disease usually starts out as gingivitis, which is characterized by swollen, tender gums that may bleed during brushing. If left untreated, it can develop into periodontitis and eventually lead to tooth loss. Unlike other controllable risk factors such as smoking or poor oral hygiene, your genetic makeup is out of your control. What can you do for your teeth and gums to help prevent this disease, even if it runs in your family?
Daily Care at Home
There is a lot that you can do to prevent gum disease. Good oral care habits are key to fighting plaque, the sticky substance that builds up on the surface of teeth and irritates the gums. Brush in the morning and at night to cut down on harmful bacteria and plaque. Spend a full two minutes toothbrushing, focusing on the gumline, those hard-to-reach back teeth, and your tongue.
Daily flossing is also essential to help remove substances that can get stuck in between teeth. Eat a balanced diet to make sure your teeth and gums are getting the nutrients that they need to thrive.
What Your Dentist Can Do
See your dentist every six months for regular checkups and professional cleanings. Your dentist can look for signs of gingivitis as well as periodontitis. Let him know if you have a family history of gum disease.
Knowing whether or not gum disease runs in your family will give you more control over your oral health. Not only is it the leading cause of tooth loss, but it also may be connected with other serious health issues, such as cardiovascular disease.
Ask your family members about their experiences with gum health. Have they ever been diagnosed with periodontal disease or noticed signs of gingivitis? Take excellent care of your teeth and always be aware of your own oral health.
Learn more about fighting gum disease in the Colgate Oral Care resources. If you do notice symptoms, then let your dentist know.
Source: iStockphoto/Yuri Arcurs