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Gum disease is more common than you’d think. In fact, 75% of patients over the age of 35 have some form of periodontal disease. Unfortunately, gum disease can lead to quite a few health issues if left untreated, including stroke, heart disease, respiratory illness, and even complications with pregnancy. Thankfully, gum disease is easily preventable with a solid dental hygiene routine and regular visits to the dentist. However, if you meet any of the following criteria, it is important that you’re diligent about taking preventative measures to keep your gums in good health.

If you’re a smoker…

Studies have shown that smoking is one of the clearest indicators for risk of gum disease. Not only does using tobacco products lead to periodontal issues, it actually makes it more difficult to treat as well.

If you’re over the age of 65…

It is very important that you visit the dentist at least once every six months if you are over the age of 65. This is because, according to the Center for Disease Control, an estimated 70% of people over the age of 65 suffer from gum disease.

If you suffer from stress…

Do you suffer from chronic stress? This can actually be quite damaging to your health, especially the health of your gums. The hormone that is released during periods of stress—cortisol—can negatively impact your immune system. This allows bacteria to thrive, which can ultimately cause an infection of the gums known as gingivitis. If left untreated, this early stage of gum disease can lead to serious health repercussions.

If you’re a teeth grinder…

Grinding your teeth not only damages your dental enamel, it also damages the gum tissue. When you suffer from bruxism, your teeth gradually loosen over time. This can create pockets in the gums that trap bacteria and lead to infection.

If your family has a history of gum disease…

Unfortunately, some people are just more prone to gum disease than others. Therefore, if anyone in your immediate family has had gum disease, you may be at greater risk for getting it as well.

If you have a low-nutrient diet…

Nutritious food is important to your health for a number of reasons. In particular, eating healthy food helps to build up your immune system. If your diet is low in nutrients, your body is more susceptible to infections, including that of the gums.

If you take certain medications…

A number of medications can make you more susceptible to gum disease. If you take certain oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, or heart medications, for example, you may experience dry mouth as a side effect. Dry mouth occurs when your salivary glands do not produce enough saliva, which is important for washing away bacteria from your teeth and gums. Without it, harmful bacteria can attack your gums, causing gingivitis and later gum disease.

Do you meet any of these criteria? Contact Downtown Dental today to schedule your routine check-up to ensure your gums are in good health!