Do you know what causes gum disease? In order to understand the factors that contribute to gum disease, it is important to first understand the anatomy of the tooth, and how the gums relate to it.
Each of your teeth is designed to have a natural, shallow gum pocket surrounding it. This area is called the sulcus – pocket – or if disease is present a periodontal pocket. At the base of this pocket lies connective tissue including ligaments and bone. These structures adhere to the tooth, holding it into the socket. A healthy pocket will be no deeper than three millimeters.
The Invasion Of Bacteria
Plaque biofilm is a byproduct naturally produced by our bodies. As we consume food, that food mixes with our saliva and breaks down into smaller particles. Biofilm then begins to develop and deposit itself onto the surfaces of teeth, and along the gum lines. Plaque biofilm enters into the gum pocket during chewing or by accumulation in the absence of good oral hygiene.
The Destruction Of Gum Attachment And Bone Structure
When plaque is not removed efficiently through careful flossing or brushing, your body’s own immune system begins to attack the bacteria. As the blood supply brings antibodies to attack the biofilm under your gum lines, it destroys the attached gum around the tooth in order to access the area of infection. As this attachment is lost it causes your gum pocket to deepen, destroying bone along with it. After a certain point these pockets become too deep for you to efficiently care for them through normal brushing and flossing.
Heightened Risk Factors
Certain risk factors and health conditions can also contribute to the development and severity of your gum disease. Some of these risk factors may include:
- Family history
- Tobacco use
- Cardiovascular disease
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