Gum disease, often referred to as periodontal disease or periodontitis, is a common but preventable condition affecting the tissues surrounding our teeth. Let’s explore the primary causes behind it.
- Poor Oral Hygiene
The most prevalent cause of gum disease is inadequate dental care. Not brushing or flossing regularly allows plaque—a sticky film of bacteria—to build upon the teeth and harden, eventually leading to tartar. This can cause inflammation of the gums, known as gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease.
- Smoking and Tobacco Use
Smokers are at a higher risk of developing gum disease than non-smokers. The toxins in tobacco can affect the flow of saliva, which plays a crucial role in cleaning the mouth and can also affect the normal function of gum tissue cells.
- Hormonal Changes
Fluctuations in hormones — like those occurring during pregnancy, menstruation, menopause, and puberty — can make gums more sensitive, making it easier for gingivitis to develop.
Certain diseases like diabetes, cancer, or HIV can interfere with the immune system, increasing vulnerability to infections including gum disease.
Some medicines can reduce the flow of saliva, which has a protective effect on the mouth. Without enough saliva, the mouth is vulnerable to infections like gum disease. Other medications can cause abnormal growth of gum tissue, making it more susceptible to disease.
- Family History
Genetics can play a role. If gum disease runs in your family, you might be at a higher risk. It’s essential to be aware and take preventive measures.
Are you worried about periodontal disease?
Although gum disease can sound daunting, understanding its causes is the first step in prevention. Regular dental check-ups, a consistent oral hygiene routine, and being aware of factors that may increase your risk are essential. Remember, early detection and treatment are key!
Pure Periodontics is one of London’s premier private specialist periodontics practices, conveniently located near Liverpool Street Station in the heart of the City of London. Providing exceptional technical care thanks to our leading specialist periodontist.