Causes of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, which is also known as gum disease & periodontitis, is a progressive disease which, if left untreated, may result in tooth loss. Gum disease begins with the inflammation & irritation of the gingival tissues which surround & support the teeth. The cause of this inflammation is the toxins found in plaque which cause an ongoing bacterial infection.

The bacterial infection colonizes in the gingival tissue, & deep pockets form between the teeth & the gums. If treated promptly by a periodontist, the effects of mild inflammation (known as gingivitis) are completely reversible. However, if the bacterial infection is allowed to progress, periodontal disease begins to destroy the gums & the underlying jawbone, promoting tooth loss. In some cases, the bacteria from this infection can travel to other areas of the body via the bloodstream.

Common Causes of Gum Disease

Common Causes of Gum Disease

There are genetic & environmental 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 dental disease starts at home with good oral hygiene & a balanced diet. Prevention also includes regular dental visits which include exams, cleanings,x-rays. A combination of excellent home care & professional dental care will preserve the natural dentition & support of bony structures. When bacteria & calculus (tartar) are not removed, the gums & bone around the teeth become affected by bacterial toxin & scan cause gingivitis or periodontitis, which ultimately lead to tooth loss.

Tobacco use – Research has indicated that smoking & tobacco use are some of the most significant factors in the development & progression of gum disease. In addition to smokers experiencing a slower recovery & healing rate, smokers are far more likely to suffer from calculus (tartar) build-up on teeth, deep pockets in the gingival tissue, & significant bone loss.

Genetic predisposition – Despite practicing rigorous oral 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. Genetic tests can be used to determine susceptibility & early intervention can be performed to keep the oral cavity healthy.

Pregnancymenopause – During pregnancy, regular brushing & flossing 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 & poor diet – Stress lowers the ability of the immune system to fight off disease which means bacterial infection can beat the body’s defense system. Poor diet or malnutrition can also lower the body’s ability to fight periodontal infections, as well as negatively affecting the health of the gums.

Diabetesunderlying medical issues – Many medical conditions can intensify or accelerate the onset & progression of gum disease including respiratory disease, heart disease, arthritis & osteoporosis. Diabetes hinders the body’s ability to utilize insulin which makes the bacterial infection in the gums more difficult to control & cure.

Grinding teeth – The clenching or grinding of teeth can significantly damage the supporting tissue surrounding the teeth. Grinding one’s teeth is usually associated with a “bad bite” or the misalignment of 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, & steroids affect the overall condition of teeth & gums, making them more susceptible to gum disease. Steroid use promotes gingival overgrowth, which makes swelling more commonplace & allows bacteria to colonize more readily in the gum tissue.

Treatment of Gum Disease

Periodontists specialize in the treatment of gum disease & the placement of dental implants. A periodontist can perform effective cleaning procedures in deep pockets such as scaling & root planing; they can also prescribe antibiotic & antifungal medications to treat infection & halt the progression of the disease.

In the case of tooth loss, the periodontist is able to perform tissue grafts to promote natural tissue regeneration, & insert dental implants if a tooth or several teeth are missing. Where gum recession causes a “toothy” looking smile, the periodontist can recontour the gingival tissue to create an even & aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Preventing periodontal disease is critical in preserving the natural dentition. Addressing the causes of gum disease & discussing them with your dentist will help prevent the onset, progression, & recurrence of periodontal disease.

If you have any questions or concerns about the causes or treatments pertaining to gum disease, please   Request Your Appointment or Call us today at  301-585-1515.