Causes of and Risk Factors for Periodontal Disease

Posted on: May 11, 2015 | Blog

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a range of inflammation in the gums and is caused by plaque buildup usually from not brushing and flossing. Gingivitis is a mild form of the disease that causes swollen, red gums that can bleed easily and is usually reversible by brushing and flossing daily and seeing dentists in Las Vegas for regular cleanings. Leaving gingivitis untreated may lead to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease that causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. The spaces can become infected, and the immune system response to the bacteria may break down the bone and connective tissue. Although plaque buildup is the initial cause, some people have higher a risk of developing gum disease.

how to tell if you have gum disease

Genetics, Age and Stress

According to research, some people are genetically predisposed to periodontal disease and more likely to develop it even if they exhibit aggressive oral care. A genetic test can identify this susceptibility before symptoms arise, allowing for preventative measures. Research also indicates that the elderly are at the highest risk as more than 70 percent of adults 65 and older have it. Stress-related conditions such as cancer and hypertension are linked to its development as well because stress makes it harder for the body to fight the infection.

Poor Nutrition, Weight, Other Diseases and Medications

Individuals who don’t get proper nutrition compromise their immune systems, making it harder for them to fight infections and allowing gum disease to worsen. Researchers also believe that obesity increases this risk. Other diseases that interfere with the inflammatory system could compound the disease as well, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease. The medications that treat some conditions, such as heart medicines, could also impact oral health, as could other drugs such as antidepressants and oral contraceptives.

Tobacco Use and Smoking

Linked with several serious illnesses, including heart disease, lung disease and cancer, tobacco use increases the risk of gum disease. Research suggests that tobacco could be one of the most significant risk factors in the progression of the disease.