Causes of Periodontal Disease

Also known as periodontal disease and periodontitis, periodontal (gum) disease is a progressive disease which may result in tooth loss if left untreated.  Gum disease begins with inflammation and irritation of the gingival tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth, with the cause of this inflammation being the toxins found in plaque and causing an ongoing bacterial infection.

Some of the most common causes of gum disease are:

  • Poor dental hygiene  – Good oral hygiene and a balanced diet, combined with regular dental visits that include exams, cleanings, and x-rays should prevent dental disease.  The gums and bone around the teeth are affected by bacteria toxins, causing gingivitis or periodontitis that can lead to tooth loss when bacteria and calculus (tartar) are not removed,
  • Chronic stress and poor diet  – Poor diet or malnutrition lowers the body’s ability to fight periodontal infections and stress lowers the ability of the immune system to fight off disease. 
  • Grinding teeth  – Clenching or grinding of the teeth can significantly damage the tissue surrounding the teeth. Additional destruction of gingival tissue from grinding accelerates the progression of the disease.
  • Tobacco use  – Smokers are far more likely to suffer from calculus (tartar) build up on teeth, deep pockets in the gingival tissue and significant bone loss, In addition to experiencing a slower recovery and healing rate .
  • Genetic predisposition  – As much as 30% of the population may have a strong genetic predisposition to gum disease despite practicing rigorous oral hygiene routines.
  • Pregnancy and menopause  – Regular brushing and flossing is critical during pregnancy, as hormonal changes can cause gum tissue to become more sensitive and susceptible to gum disease.
  • Diabetes and underlying medical issues  – Diabetes hinders the body’s ability to utilize insulin, making bacterial infection in the gums more difficult to control and cure. Many medical conditions can intensify or accelerate the onset and progression of gum disease, including respiratory disease, heart disease, arthritis and osteoporosis. 
  • Medication  – Many drugs, including heart medication, oral contraceptive pills, anti-depressants and steroids affect the overall condition of teeth and gums, making them more susceptible to gum disease.
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