Learning to Take Better Care of Your Family's Teeth

3 Unexpected Things That Contribute To Gum Disease

Nobody wants gum disease. Not only can gum disease cause painful or sensitive gums and eventually lead to tooth loss, it's also linked to even more serious health problems, like heart disease. The problem is, sometimes brushing and flossing alone isn't enough to prevent gum disease. Take a look at some of the surprising factors that can sometimes lead to gum disease. If you know what can cause it, you can stay alert and take steps to prevent it.

Having a Baby

The hormone shifts that come with being pregnant can cause all sorts of strange things to happen to the mother's body – your feet may grow, your hair may curl or straighten, you may experience heartburn more frequently than you ever have before. You may also develop gingivitis. As a matter of fact, this is so common that it's called pregnancy gingivitis, and 40% of pregnant women experience it.

Aside from the other hazards of gum disease, in pregnant women, gum disease is linked to premature birth, so if you're pregnant or planning to be, it's important to take steps to prevent pregnancy gingivitis. Step up your oral hygiene routine – you may need to brush and floss more frequently. If you don't already use an antimicrobial mouthwash, you should add this to your tooth care regimen. Also, contrary to popular belief, dental visits are not off-limits during pregnancy. Keep your regularly scheduled dental check-up and cleaning appointments, and go see your dentist right away if your gums become inflamed or sensitive, or if they bleed when you brush.

Your Fillings or Crowns

Oddly, in some cases your dental work may lead to gum disease. If you have a crown or filling that's loose or doesn't fit correctly, then bacteria may enter the gap left between the crown or filling and your tooth and begin breeding there. You can't reach underneath a crown or filling to clean out the area with a toothbrush, so the bacteria can continue spreading until it ends up infecting your gums.

If an old crown or filling has come loose, or a new one doesn't seem to be in the correct place, it's important to bring it to your dentist's attention as soon as you notice it. Your dentist can clean out the tooth and replace the crown or filling more securely.

Vitamin Deficiency

If you're not getting enough to eat or just not getting enough healthy food, you could experience a vitamin deficiency that can lead to gum disease. Specifically, Vitamin C is vital to boosting your immune system and helping you fight off bacteria and infections. Calcium and iron are also central to good oral health.

If you're dieting, you need to make sure that you're still getting the recommended daily amount of vitamins that you need. Take supplements if you have trouble getting enough vitamins from your daily diet.

Talk to your dentist if you suspect that you may be developing gum disease, or if you believe you're at risk for gum disease. Your dentist can treat any existing gum disease and help you come up with a plan to avoid it in the future.