In past centuries, the expression “long in the tooth” was well known. During eras in which little was understood about oral health and hygiene, individuals often experienced the problem of gum recession as they aged. The more gums receded, the longer teeth would appear, hence the term “long in the tooth” to describe an older person. What is interesting is that this term was used in relation to age, when being “long in the tooth” was really indicative of periodontal gum disease. In our Longview area dental practice, we seek to identify the signs of gum disease as early as possible, and encourage our patients to visit us twice a year for evaluation.
During routine visits, we can discuss the prevention and treatment of gum disease, as well as risk factors, which include:
- Genetics affect every part of our health, including oral health. In part, genetics can play a role in a person’s susceptibility to gum disease. We work with patients on an individual basis to assess their risk of gum disease and to monitor gum health in regular dental visits. Taking this approach, we can more easily detect signs of infection very early and quickly devise a suitable treatment plan.
- The level of oral health is also affected by lifestyle habits. Research has shown that smoking, in particular, is detrimental to oral tissues, breaking them down and leaving them highly susceptible to infection.
- As hormones regulate several functions in the body, these chemicals are also implicated in the development of gum disease. Women, for instance, become more susceptible to gum disease during pregnancy as well as at certain times of the monthly cycle due to more dramatic fluctuations in hormones.
- The purpose of oral hygiene is to cleanse the mouth of harmful oral bacteria and plaque. However, brushing, in particular, can also increase a person’s risk of gum disease if care is not taken to protect delicate gum tissue. In an effort to achieve successful cleaning, some people have a tendency to brush too aggressively. Brushing the teeth and gums too harshly can cause abrasions and irritation. To protect teeth and gums from abrasions, we suggest using a low-abrasion toothpaste and soft-bristled toothbrush and, of course, gentle technique.
The leading cause of tooth loss in adults is gum disease. Due to the gradual progression of this infection, it is possible to regain control over oral health with professional dental treatment. Contact our office to schedule your appointment with Dr. Bruyere.
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