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Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in dental plaque, the sticky stuff that forms on your teeth a couple of hours after you have brushed. Interestingly, it is your body's response to the bacterial infection that causes most of the problems.

If oral hygiene slips or dental visits become irregular, plaque builds up on the teeth and eventually spreads below the gum line. There, the bacteria are protected because your toothbrush can't reach them. Good flossing may help dislodge the plaque; but if it is not removed, the bacteria will continue to multiply, causing a more serious infection.

Risks and Prevention

ryans-periodontics-careGrinding, gritting or clenching of teeth these habits won't cause periodontal disease, but they can lead to more severe disease if inflammation is already present. The extreme force exerted on the teeth by these habits appears to speed up the breakdown of the periodontal ligament and bone. In many cases, patients can learn to stop this habit simply by recognizing when it is happening and then relaxing. If these efforts don't work, our dentist can create a custom guard appliance (sometimes called an occlusal guard, night guard, mouth guard or bite guard) that helps reduce the pressure of clenching or grinding on the teeth.

Stress — Stress can worsen periodontal disease and make it harder to treat. Stress weakens your body's immune system, which makes it harder for your body to fight off infection, including periodontal disease.

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Fluctuating hormones — Whenever hormones fluctuate in the body, changes can occur in the mouth. Puberty and pregnancy can temporarily increase the risk and severity of gum disease, as can menopause.

Poor nutrition — Nutrition is important for overall good health, including a working immune system and healthy gums and mouth.


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