Are You at Risk for Gum Disease?
With more than half of American adults affected by gum disease, it’s important to know if you’re in one of the at-risk groups. Some factors are beyond our control, but others can be controlled, and simple things such as better nutrition and behavioral changes can go a long way toward improving oral health and preventing gum disease.
Gum Disease Risk Factors
- Age – People over 65 years have the highest rates of periodontal disease, with over 70% afflicted. Seniors with gum disease also have higher rates of other chronic illnesses.
- Smoking and Tobacco Use is perhaps the most significant risk factor for periodontal disease (as well as other serious health problems). If you smoke, the best thing you can do for your health is quit!
- Stress – High levels of stress can decrease the effectiveness of the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off infections.
- Clenching or Grinding of teeth (also known as bruxism) creates an excessive force that can damage and degrade surrounding tissue and cause irritation.
- Medications such as anti-depressants, oral contraceptives, and others can have adverse effects on periodontal health. Be sure to read all the labels on your medication for possible side-effects and talk with your doctor or dentist if you notice any changes.
How to Avoid Gum Disease
Gum disease has been linked to an increased risk for heart disease as well as other conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory infections, and low-birth-weight and premature births. The best way to prevent these adverse effects is to:
- Floss regularly and brush properly
- Avoid sugary snacks
- Increase fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet
- Carry sugarless gum for when you can’t brush
- Visit your dentist every six months for a professional cleaning and check-up!
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Dr. Angela Burns moved to Austin 10 years ago and instantly fell in love with our beautiful city. Dr. Burns is originally from the Texarkana area. She attended Texas A&M for her undergraduate degree and The University of Tennessee Health Science Center for her degree in dental surgery (DDS). Dr. Burns is committed to providing her patients with gentle, technologically advanced dental treatment. She attends an average of 60 hours of continuing education every year. She is a member of the American Dental Association, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the Texas Dental Association, and the Capital Area Dental Society. Dr. Burns and her husband, Gary, have an 11-year-old daughter, Sydney, who is a proud 6th grader at Hill Country Middle School. She is also very involved in the Eanes PTO, her church, and loves raising her family in the Westlake community. “Growing up, I was drawn to mediating and helping others feel more included and less anxious. I was a camp counselor, student government officer and being the oldest of five, I was the family mediator. I found that I had a calling to help alleviate stressful situations for others and realized that being a good listener was something that was key to this. These skills really helped guide me into becoming a dentist that has based my practice on relationships, empathy and a sense of comfort. I knew that I wanted to provide an atmosphere that felt like home when others walked in. Our practice is small, personal and state of the art and we hope you feel like you’re hanging out with friends when you are here!” When she is not practicing dentistry, Dr. Burns enjoys traveling, hiking the greenbelt, enjoying Austin’s music scene, and eating Amy’s Ice Cream.