Berrien Springs, MI -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/18/2015 -- Some risk factors for periodontal disease (gum disease), such as age or genetics, may be unavoidable. Others, however, can be slowed down by changing certain lifestyle habits. Dr. Todd Christy and Dr. Eric Balsis of Berrien Dental help you recognize these habits and work on them in order to reduce your risk of gum disease.
"The main cause of gum disease is the buildup of plaque on teeth. This creates pockets between the teeth and gums, allowing bacteria to infiltrate. However, other factors affect the health of a person's gums as well," explains Dr. Christy.
We typically associate smoking or tobacco use with lung cancer, heart disease and other health conditions. The truth is, studies have found that these habits may also be among the most compelling risk factors for developing gum disease.
Another common contributor to gum disease is stress. On top of being linked to health problems such as high blood pressure and cancer, stress can make it much more challenging to fight off bacteria that cause gum disease infections.
"Certain medications can affect oral health. Some examples include anti-depressants, birth control pills and some heart medicines," Dr. Balsis maintains, "It is therefore extremely important to keep your dentist aware of the medications you are on."
People who are bruxers (teeth grinders) are at higher risk of gum disease as they exert excess force on the tissues that support the teeth. This speeds up the rate at which these tissues get worn out.
In addition, some systemic diseases that hamper the body's immune system may increase the risk of gum disease. These include diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and certain cardiovascular diseases.
Dr. Christy adds, "Another commonly overlooked risk factor is poor nutrition and obesity, which prevents the body's immune system from functioning as well as it should. Gum disease begins as an infection and poor nutrition can worsen the condition."
Gum disease and osteoporosis tend to share several common risk factors. They are generally more common among patients with a family history of either or both diseases.
Fortunately, technology in the field of dentistry is constantly advancing. In order to bring their patients the most updated treatment options and methods, both Dr. Christy and Dr. Balsis attend advanced dental courses on a regular basis.
To make an appointment, please call the Berrien Springs office at 269-471-4055 or the St. Joseph office at 269-983-4311.