What Causes Gum Disease?

Bleeding gums when you brush. Bad breath that won’t go away. Gums that are red and swollen. You know that those are the tell-tale signs of gum disease. You also know that if you don’t treat your gum disease in the early stages, it can lead to serious dental issues. But, do you know what causes gum disease? Let’s look at the many factors that can contribute to gum disease.

Bad Oral Hygiene Habits

The main cause of gum disease is bad oral hygiene. Not brushing twice per day. Not brushing with the proper technique. Not flossing each day. When you don’t take care of your teeth and gums, you give plaque and bacteria the chance to collect on your teeth. In turn, these bacteria infect your gums and you are soon experiencing Stage 1 of gum disease – gingivitis.

Use of Tobacco/Smoking

You know that tobacco and smoking can be contributing factors to cancer, lung disease, heart disease, and many other health problems, but did you know that it also puts you at risk for gum disease? Quitting smoking can have many positive effects on your health, including your oral health.

Hormonal Changes in Girls/Women

The hormonal changes that girls/women experience such as puberty, pregnancy, and/or menopause can make gums more sensitive and more prone to gingivitis.


You know that stress can raise your heart rate and blood pressure. Stress can cause headaches, sleep problems and fatigue. And yes, stress can also contribute to gum disease. Stress makes it more difficult for the body to fight infection.


If your diet does not contain enough calcium and Vitamin C this can also contribute to gum disease. Calcium is important for bone density and Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which can help you maintain healthy gums.


There are certain medications that can affect your oral health. Be sure that all of your health care providers are aware of any medications that you are taking so that they can keep an eye on your overall health.

While there are a lot of factors that can contribute to gum disease, remember that the effects of gum disease can be reversed when detected early. Regular visits to your dentist, daily flossing, and brushing twice each day with products designed specifically to combat gum disease can go a long way to restoring and maintaining good oral health.