Common Causes of Periodontal Disease

There are several factors involved in the onset of gum disease. In many cases the risk of developing periodontitis can be significantly lowered by taking preventative measures. Here are some of the most common causes of gum disease:

  • Poor dental hygiene: Preventing gum disease starts with good oral hygiene. Good home care combined with regular dental visits will preserve the natural teeth and supporting bone. When bacteria and calculus (tartar) are not removed, the gums and bone around the teeth become affected by bacterial toxins that can cause gingivitis or periodontitis.
  • Tobacco use: Smoking and tobacco use is one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of gum disease. Some smokers also experience a slower recovery and healing rate. Smokers are far more likely to suffer from calculus build-up on teeth, deep pockets in the gingival tissue, and significant bone loss.
  • Genetic predisposition: Despite good hygiene routines, as much as 30% of the population may have a strong genetic predisposition to gum disease. These individuals are six times more likely to develop periodontal disease than individuals with no genetic predisposition.
  • Pregnancy and menopause: Regular brushing and flossing during pregnancy is critical. Hormonal changes experienced by the body can cause the gum tissue to become more sensitive, rendering them more susceptible to gum disease.
  • Chronic stress and poor diet: Stress lowers the ability of the immune system to fight off disease. Poor diet or malnutrition can also lower the body’s ability to fight periodontal infections.
  • Diabetes and other medical issues: Many medical conditions can intensify or accelerate the onset and progression of gum disease including diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Diabetes hinders the body’s ability to utilize insulin which makes the bacterial infection in the gums more difficult to control and cure.
  • Grinding teeth: Clenching or grinding of the teeth can significantly damage the supporting tissue surrounding the teeth. When an individual is suffering from gum disease, the additional destruction of gingival tissue due to grinding can accelerate the progression of the disease.
  • Medication: Many drugs including oral contraceptive pills, heart medicines, anti-depressants and steroids can affect the overall condition of teeth and gums; making them more susceptible to gum disease.

About Jill Levine DDS MSc

Dr. Jill Levine DDS, MSc, FRCD(C) is a Certified Specialist in Periodontics practicing in Toronto, Ontario and offers dental implants to replace missing teeth, treatment for gum disease , and other gum procedures to help improve your smile.