Periodontal disease is a common dental health condition that affects billions of people around the world, and Ottawa is no exception. However, the good news is that gum disease is almost always preventable if you maintain proper oral hygiene habits and make regular trips to your local dental clinic for professional teeth cleanings. Even patients that develop mild gum disease, known as gingivitis, may seek periodontal treatment in order to remedy or even reverse the situation during the early stages. That being said, periodontitis comes with a host of additional health risks if left untreated, which is why it’s so important to become educated about the causes, symptoms, and risks of gum disease. Only then can gum disease truly be prevented through proactive oral health care.


Much like other common health conditions, gum disease can be caused by a number of things that lead to plaque and tartar building up on the teeth and along the gumline. This bacteria then binds with sugar from the foods and drinks we consume, creating acids that eat away at the teeth and surrounding tissues if it is not thoroughly removed via regular brushing and flossing. In other words, a lack of good oral hygiene habits is the main culprit of gingivitis and, consequently, gum disease, which is its more advanced, destructive, and irreversible form.


At this point, you might be wondering what you can do to avoid developing this plaque and tartar buildup, so here are a few things to keep in mind during your daily oral health care routine.

  • Brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice per day. Once in the morning and once at night — and floss your teeth daily. This is the only sure-fire way to prevent gum disease and its onset symptoms, which can be incredibly unpleasant. Brushing and flossing your teeth every night ensures that any stubborn food and sugar lingering in your mouth from candy, soda, and meals you consumed throughout the day are eliminated. Otherwise, these acidic particles have between six and 10 hours to thrive as you sleep, eating away at your teeth and surrounding gum tissue. Don’t be fooled though — the symptoms of gingivitis can be subtle at first, so you might not even notice the damage that was done until much later if you start to slack on your oral hygiene.
  • Watch what you eat. Given the accessibility of fast food, candy, soda, and other sugary sweets these days, it is now more important than ever to watch what you eat for a number of reasons. Aside from obesity and diabetes, one of the main reasons to eat healthy foods is that what you eat has a direct impact on your oral health. Certain foods, such as leafy greens, apples, cheese, and yogurt, are good for your teeth, as they help balance out your mouth’s pH level and can even help prevent tooth decay. On the other hand, sugary or acidic foods, like candy, chips, coffee, soda, citrus fruits, sports drinks, and alcohol, can be incredibly detrimental to your overall oral health.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. This brings us to one of the main causes of gum disease: alcohol consumption. Studies show that heavy drinking is often linked to tooth decay and gum disease, given that alcohol contains particularly aggressive acids that feed on your teeth, not to mention that many types of alcohol are also loaded with sugar. On top of that, binge-drinkers often forget to brush their teeth after a night out and end up going to bed with all that sugar, acid, and bad mouth bacteria festering on their teeth overnight. To avoid this, try to cut down on alcohol consumption and, when you do decide to grab a few cocktails with friends, be sure to brush your teeth thoroughly before you hit the hay.
  • Quit smoking. This goes without saying, or does it? Aside from a lack of oral hygiene, the number-one cause of gum disease is smoking cigarettes and/or chewing tobacco. Both of these addictive substances contain loads of harmful chemicals that should under no circumstances come anywhere near your teeth, and to make matters worse, they are incredibly addictive. When combined with the sugars and acids from the foods you eat, these chemicals only make matters worse as they eat away at your teeth, very likely escalating the onset symptoms of gingivitis and moderate to late-stage gum disease.


Now that you know some of the main causes of gum disease, it’s time to book an appointment at our family dental clinic in Ottawa. Our dentists and dental hygienists have years of education and experience preventing, diagnosing, and treating periodontitis, which is why we are able to offer so many effective gum disease treatments at Trillium Dental.

Looking for more information about gum disease and how to prevent it with proactive oral hygiene and professional teeth cleaning appointments? Contact us today to learn more, and continue to part two of this blog series to find out the main symptoms and risks of gum disease when it is left untreated by a dental professional. Here at Trillium Dental, we firmly believe that the key to gum disease prevention is taking care of your teeth and becoming aware of the risks associated with this all-too-common disease, so you can do everything in your power to avoid it.