Causes of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is an epidemic around the world and in the U.S.,
so it makes sense that there are numerous causes of the condition.
Primarily, poor oral hygiene is responsible for the development and
progression of periodontal disease, as it is both treatable and
manageable under the care of a dentist trained in periodontal care.
Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria that accumulate on the teeth,
forming a sticky film known as plaque. With proper daily brushing and
flossing habits, this film is washed away, preventing bacteria from
proliferating around the gum tissues. Twice-yearly professional teeth
cleanings can help eliminate built-up plaque and tarter in places missed
by a tooth brush, preventing periodontal disease.
any area of the tooth – especially those in between teeth and near the
surface of the gums – can lead to a hardening of the plaque on the
teeth. Overtime, bacteria grow in these areas, not only decaying teeth
but causing damage to the soft tissues and bone that support the teeth.
Failing to maintain regular professional cleaning appointments will
allow the disease to further progress, eventually leading to
inflammation, bone deterioration and tooth loss.
Other Risk Factors
In addition to poor oral hygiene and an existing diagnosis of
gingivitis, there are many other factors that can contribute to a
person’s risk of developing periodontal disease. Some are fixed and
predetermined, while others are highly variable depending on lifestyle
choices and habits.
Genetic Predisposition – Individuals with a
family history or gingivitis or periodontitis may be genetically more
susceptible to developing periodontal disease themselves. Regular exams
can help identify periodontal disease during its earliest stages,
allowing for prompt intervention.
Age – The highest number
concentration of periodontal disease occurs in adults over age 65.
Although being 65 or older puts a person at an increased risk of
developing the disease, periodontal disease can occur in any person at
Systemic Diseases – Some diseases can increase chances of
developing oral health problems, such as periodontal disease. Diabetes
and cardiovascular disease, for example, may cause minor periodontal
disease to progress more rapidly, leading to faster gum, bone and tooth
Poor Nutrition – Nutrition is an important factor in overall
health, and it can also indirectly prevent or cause periodontal disease.
Good nutrition and a healthy diet can prevent obesity and certain
systemic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. On the other
hand, a poor diet high in fat and sugar can accelerate gum disease and
may also contribute to the development of systemic disease within the
Bruxism – A person suffering from bruxism has a tendency to
clench or grind his or her teeth at night. Bruxism is very hard on the
jaw, teeth and enamel, and it can also cause an accelerated
deterioration of the soft tissues within the mouth.
Some medications are known to cause oral side effects. Birth control
pills and anti-depressants are just some examples of the types of
medications that can raise a person’s risk factor for gum disease.
Smoking and Tobacco Usage – Aside from poor brushing and flossing
habits, tobacco usage is the leading cause of periodontal disease.
Smoking and tobacco usage is known to cause periodontal disease to
develop and progress more rapidly than it otherwise would.
Factors – Other lifestyle factors can also lead to the development or
progression of periodontal disease. Frequent stress, for example, can
affect the body’s immune response and prevent the body from fighting off
infections – including periodontal disease.
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