Causes of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a progressive disease that can lead to tooth loss or other health problems if it is left untreated. It begins with some inflammation and irritation in the gingival tissues that surround and support your teeth. Eventually, it can even lead to more health problems throughout your body.

This inflammation is caused by the toxins found in plaque. This also leads to an ongoing bacterial infection in the gingival tissue, forming deep pockets between the teeth and gums.

If you promptly seek treatment for this condition, the effects of a mild inflammation (or when it’s still just classified as gingivitis instead full-blown gum disease) are completely reversible. However, if you don’t get treatment fast enough, the disease can start to destroy the gums and jawbone structure. On top of that, it is possible for the infection to travel to other areas of the body through the bloodstream, causing more problems.

What are the Common Causes of Gum Disease?

Many genetic and environmental factors may contribute to the onset of gum disease. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Poor dental hygiene – Good oral hygiene and a balanced diet are critical for dental health. You can prevent gum disease with a combination of excellent home care and professional dental care. If bacteria and tartar are not removed, the gums and bone around the teeth can be affected by bacterial toxins and can cause gingivitis or periodontitis.
  • Tobacco – Research suggests that tobacco use is one of the most significant factors in the development and progression of gum disease. Smokers have a slower recovery and healing rate and are far more likely to suffer from tartar build-up, deep pockets in the gingival tissue, and bone loss.
  • Chronic stress and poor diet – Stress actually makes it harder for the immune system to fight off disease, which means your body will have a harder time fighting the bacterial infection. A poor diet or malnutrition can have the same effect on the body, as well as negatively impacting the gums.
  • Pregnancy and menopause – The hormonal changes during pregnancy can make the gum tissue more sensitive, rendering them more susceptible to gum disease. This makes regular brushing and flossing critical.
  • Medication – Everything from heart medicines and anti-depressants to steroids can affect the condition of teeth and gums, making them more susceptible to gum disease. Steroid use, in particular, promotes gingival overgrowth, so swelling is more common, allowing bacteria to colonize more easily.
  • Grinding teeth – Clenching or grinding teeth can damage the supporting tissues around your teeth. If you are suffering from gum disease, the additional destruction of gingival tissue from grinding your teeth can accelerate the progression of the disease.
  • Diabetes and other underlying medical issues – Many medical conditions can intensify or accelerate the onset and progression of gum disease. This includes heart disease, respiratory disease, arthritis and osteoporosis. Diabetes, in particular, can hinder the body’s ability to utilize insulin which makes the bacterial infection in the gums more difficult to control.
  • Genetic predisposition – An estimated 30% of the population may have a strong genetic predisposition to gum disease. These individuals are six times more likely to develop periodontal disease.

By addressing these causes we can help prevent the onset, progression, and recurrence of periodontal disease. Contact us today if you have any questions or suspect you may be on the verge of gingivitis or gum disease. We’ll work with you to restore the health of your mouth.

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