Is Gum Disease Genetic?
- Posted on: Jul 23 2018
Gum disease can lead to tooth loss and even raise your risk of developing serious chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. That’s why early detection is so important.
What is gum disease and what are the different types of it?
Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth, and if it’s not properly treated, it can lead to tooth loss. It often doesn’t cause any pain, so you may not be aware that you have it. It can exist in the following forms:
- Gingivitis: This mildest form of gum disease can cause gums to become red, swollen, and prone to bleeding.
- Periodontitis: This more severe type of gum disease can result from untreated gingivitis. It causes the tissues and bones that support the teeth to break down, forming pockets between the teeth and gums that become infected. This can eventually lead to loose teeth or tooth loss.
What causes gum disease and what are its risk factors?
Gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. The following factors can increase your risk of developing gum disease:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Older age
- Tobacco use
- Certain medications
- Other diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease
- Clenching or grinding your teeth
- Poor nutrition
What can you do if you have a genetic predisposition for gum disease?
Genetics can play an important role in a large percentage of gum disease cases. If you have several relatives who have gum disease, you’ll need to be especially vigilant about getting regular dental care and reducing risk factors, like smoking, that are within your control.
How is gum disease treated?
Having gum disease treated promptly will help keep it from developing into its more serious form. It can be treated in the following ways:
- Deep cleaning: This cleans under the gum line and can be combined with scaling and root planing. Scaling scrapes the tartar off the area above and below your gum line, and root planing smooths out the rough surfaces of your tooth roots to help the gums reattach to the tooth.
- Medication: Medications such as oral antibiotics and antibiotic gels can be used as part of your treatment since they’ll help fight the infection.
- Surgery: Several different types of surgery are available to help treat your gum disease if medication and deep cleaning aren’t successful enough. Gum graft surgery allows your doctor to take tissue from another part of your mouth to cover exposed tooth roots. Flap surgery allows the doctor to lift your gums to get at the tartar deep beneath the gum line. The gums are then stitched back in place so they’re tighter around the tooth.
If you have symptoms of gum disease (such as red, swollen, or bleeding gums) or need regular dental care, make an appointment today with Concerned Dental Care of NYC. We provide quality dentistry that’s gentle, caring, and affordable, including treatments for gum disease.