Family, Orthodontic & Implant Dentistry


Family, Orthodontic & Implant Dentistry

Causes of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, which is also known as gum disease and periodontitis, is a progressive disease which, if left untreated, may result in tooth loss.  Gum disease begins with the inflammation and irritation of the gingival tissues which surround and 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, and deep pockets form between the teeth and 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 and 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

There are genetic and environmental factors involved in the onset of gum disease, but many people can take preventative measures to lower their risk.

Here are some of the most common causes of gum disease:

  • Poor dental hygiene - Dental disease starts at home with good oral hygiene and a balanced diet. Prevention also includes regular dental visits which include exams, cleanings, x-rays - but it's important to note that one without the other will not be effective in preventing tooth loss or discomfort from bad breath (ie: gum disease). When bacteria and calculus (tartar) are left untreated for too long they can cause gingivitis or periodontitis; ultimately leading to losing teeth!
  • Tobacco use – The research is in and it looks like smoking cigarettes are the leading cause for gum disease. Not only does this take a toll on your health, but smokers also experience slower healing rates as well as more calculus build up thanks to all that tarter from residual smoke inside their mouth.
  • Genetic predisposition – It has been estimated that 30% of the population may have a strong genetic predisposition to gum disease, despite practicing rigorous oral hygiene routines. These individuals are six times more likely than those without such an inheritance pattern for periodontal diseases and need early intervention as soon as possible in order to keep their mouth healthy.
  • Pregnancy and menopause – Pregnancy has many changes that can affect your body, and one of them is gum disease. During pregnancy the hormones in our bodies change which causes us to become more susceptible to sensitive gums; brush or floss daily for protection against this nasty condition!
  • Chronic stress and poor diet – Stress is a very unhealthy thing to have in your life. It can lower the body’s ability fight off disease, which means you are at risk for bacterial infections and other illnesses due simply because of how stressed out we all become with today's fast lifestyle. In addition stress also reduces nutrient intake or malnutrition- both factors that play into reducing our chances against gum problems like periodontal infection as well as affecting overall health on some level
  • Diabetes and underlying medical issues – Many medical conditions can intensify or accelerate the onset and progression of gum disease including respiratory disease, heart disease, arthritis 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 – When you grind your teeth, it can damage the supporting tissue around them. When this occurs in conjunction with gum disease or misalignment of teeth; an individual is left susceptible for accelerated progression to even more serious oral health issues such as tooth loss and/or jaw pain.
  • Medication – The clenching or grinding of teeth can have a significant impact on one's dental health. It is usually associated with misalignment and bad bites, but when an individual has gum disease it exacerbates the destructive effects by damaging more tissue around their mouth ( Gingival Hyperplasia).

Treatment of Gum Disease

A periodontist can perform effective cleaning procedures in deep pockets such as scaling and root planing; they also prescribe antibiotic medications to treat gum infection.

In the case of tooth loss, a periodontist is able to perform tissue grafts and insert dental implants if necessary. Where gum recession causes an uneven smile due in part from too much "toothy" gingival tissue being recontoured for aesthetic purposes by using surgery or other procedures on these areas so that patient can have even teeth all over their face with natural looking colors instead having just white appearing where there should be color!

Addressing the causes of gum disease and discussing them with your dentist will help prevent periodontal disease. If you want to preserve your natural dentition, it's important that we work together.