One of the scariest aspects of gum disease is that it tends to sneak up on people, causing subtle symptoms at first such as reddened gums or a bad taste in your mouth. However, if you are familiar with your risk factors for developing the disease, you may be able to seek treatment proactively and resolve the condition with the help of your doctor. Here are three risk factors that increase your chances of developing gum disease.

1. Poor Diet Certain foods are better for your teeth and gums than others. While fresh fruits and vegetables can help to hydrate your smile and even whisk away plaque and bacteria, starchy, sugary foods can leave behind a microscopic film of debris that fuels oral bacteria and causes tooth decay. Over time, these bacteria can also start to irritate the gums, contributing to gum disease and periodontitis. 

To fend off gum disease, try to enjoy a diet filled with lean proteins, water, and fresh produce. Try to avoid starchy or sugary foods, including flavored drinks and sodas.   

2. Smoking When you smoke, you are subjecting your mouth to a wide array of harmful toxins and temperatures. Smoking reduces blood flow to the tissues of the mouth while coating the teeth in sticky chemicals, contributing to oral infections and raising your chances of developing gum disease. 

In fact, studies have proven that smokers have about twice the risk of developing gum disease as non-smokers. If you currently smoke, talk with your doctor about how to quit the habit. Additionally, meet with your dentist to learn more about your current dental health, and work with your periodontist to clean your teeth thoroughly. Remember that every stage of gum disease is treatable, so don't worry too much if you have already developed some of the later symptoms of gum disease. 

3. Diabetes People who are living with diabetes have a more difficult time controlling infections in their body, increasing the risk of gum disease. In fact, studies have shown that about 22% of people with diabetes will develop periodontal disease at some point in time. 

If you have a family history of diabetes, be on the lookout for symptoms of the condition, such as fatigue, blurry vision, frequent urination, and unexplained weight loss. Remember that diabetes can also cause problems with your mouth, such as dryness, delayed wound healing, and problems with cavities. 

If you start struggling with any of the signs of gum disease such as irritated gums, bad breath, loose teeth, or oozing gums, take your symptoms seriously and consider periodontist services. Unlike general dentists, periodontists receive extra training regarding the treatment and prevention of gum disease, helping you to enjoy a healthier smile.