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How to Lessen Your Risk for Gum Disease

The importance of brushing, flossing, and scheduling regular checkups with your general dentist in Naperville cannot be understated. Nevertheless, other factors such as lifestyle choices and even genetics significantly impact aspects of your oral health. Therefore, it is important to keep these risk factors in mind when it comes to proactively protecting your dental health.

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While aging is a risk factor for periodontitis (gum disease) that no one has control over, there are things you can do to improve your personal risk. By the time the average American reaches the age of 65, they have a 70% chance of having some form of periodontitis. While this explains why more older adults struggle with tooth loss, it does not paint a complete picture.

Aging causes loss of flexibility and agility, which can make it harder to brush and floss correctly. Additionally, older people tend to live alone more often and go out less often. This can lead to a lack of interest in maintaining personal grooming habits – including dental care.

It may also be difficult for older adults to get to and from regular dental appointments. While understandable, most of these factors can be eliminated with a bit of determination and dedication to a good oral health routine.

Genetic Predisposition

If you have a family history of gum disease, this is another risk factor you cannot avoid. Nevertheless, you can reduce the risk of being the next generation to develop complications from gum disease. It is true that despite meticulous dental hygiene, you may still be susceptible to developing periodontitis. However, early intervention can prevent progression and reduce the risk of tooth and bone loss.

Using Tobacco Products

Almost everyone understands the detrimental effects tobacco use has on their lungs and cardiovascular system. But it is important to note that studies show it is also a significant risk factor for the development of chronic inflammation and infection. Thus, tobacco use doesn’t only stain your teeth and cause them to look bad, it can contribute to inflammation and progression of gum disease.

Taking Certain Medications

Oral contraceptives, certain heart medications, and antidepressants are among the medications that can negatively impact your oral health. This is why it is imperative to discuss all the medications you are taking with your dentist during your semi-annual exam. While some of these risks are unavoidable, it’s important that you know if you are placing your teeth and gums at risk so you can investigate alternative medications.


Stress is not good for anyone. It can put you at increased risk for cancer, hypertension, gastrointestinal ulcers, migraine headaches, and other health conditions. It can even increase your risk for gingivitis leading to periodontitis. While some level of stress is unavoidable, you should make a point of using the various strategies available to help you manage your stress levels throughout the day.


Jaw Clenching and Teeth Grinding

While we are talking about stress, it’s important to discuss a specific manifestation of stress that directly affects your teeth and jaw. Clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth exerts excess force on the tissues responsible for supporting your teeth and gums. This can lead to the destruction of your teeth and eventual bone loss. A customized mouthguard can help reduce the stress on your oral tissues and may even help you stop grinding your teeth.

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Your oral health, as well as your overall health, is determined by many factors – some of which you have direct control over and some you have limited control over. Nevertheless, the more effort you put into maintaining every aspect of your health, the bigger the payback.

A good at-home oral hygiene routine, as well as a strong commitment to regular checkups and professional cleanings, will go a long way to help you avoid gum disease. Additionally, the right dental health regime will help you maintain your best smile for years to come. For more information on maintaining your oral health or to book an appointment, we invite you to reach out to us at Naperville Commons Dental.

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