Risk Factors for Gum Disease

When it comes to gum disease, the most common cause is poor dental hygiene. When you don’t take care of your teeth properly, you can leave plaque behind which contains bacteria. The bacteria then infect your gums causing gum disease. But there are other risk factors that can increase your risk for gum disease.

Age

As you age your chance of developing gum disease increases. The Center for Disease Control has stated that over 70% of the population aged 65 and older have advanced gum disease known as periodontitis.

Stress

Did you know that when you are stressed your body has a harder time fighting off infections? Because gum disease is an infection of the gums, stress can be a contributing factor.

Pregnancy

Due to changing hormones in the body during pregnancy, many women may experience “pregnancy gingivitis.”

Smoking/Tobacco Use

You know that smoking and tobacco use can cause serious health problems. It also is a factor that can contribute to gum disease.

Medications

Certain drugs and medications may cause changes in your oral health such as anti-depressants or oral contraceptives. Medications may cause dry mouth or other symptoms which can contribute to gum disease. Speak with your doctor and dentist if you notice changes to your oral health when taking medications.

Teeth Grinding

When you grind your teeth, you are exerting force on your teeth and gums. This force can accelerate gum issues such as periodontal disease.

Genetics

If you speak to members of your family who have lost teeth or experienced gum disease, you may find that genetics plays a part in your own chance of developing periodontal disease. People who have a hereditary risk for gum disease may find they need to be more aggressive in their treatment.

Poor Nutrition & Obesity

If you are not fuelling your body with healthy foods, you may find that you can’t properly fight infection. Additionally, studies have shown that obese people are more prone to gum disease.

Other Diseases

Diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and rheumatoid arthritis also increase your risk of developing gum disease. These diseases may weaken your immune system making it more difficult to fight off infections, including gum disease.

When it comes to gum disease - know your risk factors. Be sure to discuss any concerns with both your primary care physician and your dentist. Together you and your healthcare team can work to stop gum disease in its tracks.