The primary cause of periodontal (gum) disease is bacterial plaque consistently forming on your teeth. Bacteria in your mouth are normal. If these bacteria are not effectively removed they will multiply and cause destruction to the tissue and bone supporting your teeth. Other factors can also adversely effect the health of your gums. Each person is uniquely different which means the cause, symptoms, and treatment may differ from patient-to-patient.
LACK OF DENTAL CARE
Improper home care and/or lack of regular dental care is a leading cause of periodontal (gum) disease. Brushing after meals, flossing 1-2 times per day and regular preventive care helps keep periodontal disease at bay. Without this, your gums will harbor more bacteria and deposits thus increasing inflammation and bone loss. Dental professionals have the ability to remove hardened plaque and disrupt bacterial colonies in an effort to keep your mouth healthy.
SMOKING AND/OR TOBACCO USE
Not only is this habit linked to serious health conditions such as cancer, lung, and heart disease; it also increases your risk for periodontal (gum) disease. In fact, it may be a significant factor in causing and promoting the disease. Smoking decreases the blood supply and oxygen needed to fight infection and keep tissue and bone healthy.
Smokers are more likely to develop periodontal (gum) disease and have a higher percentage of treatment failure and complications. Smoking cessation should seriously be considered to improve overall health as well as oral health.
DIABETES AND OTHER SYSTEMIC DISEASES
Over 300 million people worldwide are affected with diabetes. It’s estimated only half of Americans with diabetes have been diagnosed by a physician. The International Diabetes Federation (IDP) supports previous research: proper management of periodontal (gum) disease can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes and with those who have diabetes, help them to control blood sugar levels. Periodontal (gum) disease is an inflammatory disease which aggravates diabetes, a disease which weakens the immune system, and vice versa.
Recent research supports what healthcare professionals have long suspected: there is a link between periodontal (gum) disease and other systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease.
According to a study published by the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, up to 30% of the population may be genetically susceptible to developing severe periodontal disease. Despite impeccable home care habits, these people are still very likely to develop the disease.
For women, hormonal fluctuations can cause their body, including gums, to react negatively. This increases the risk for periodontal (gum disease). Pregnancy in women is also linked to an increased susceptibility to periodontal (gum) disease which studies suggest heightens the chance of preterm, low birth weight babies.
Certain medications such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, and heart medication can adversely affect oral health. Current medications should be updated with your dentist or periodontist at each appointment.
Clenching and/or Grinding can put additional force and stress on the tissues supporting teeth increasing the deterioration of the periodontal tissues. Some patients may benefit from a custom-fit, lab fabricated occlusal guard.
Stress also decreases the body’s ability to fight infection and disease.