Risk Factors for Gum Disease

Gum Disease Risk FactorsAccording to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of Americans have some form of gum disease — and many do not even know they have it! Because the disease is usually painless, you may not know you have developed a bacterial infection that can gradually eat away at the structures holding your teeth in place.

Knowing your risk factors for the disease plays a critical role in preventing gum disease. The board-certified periodontists at Pacific Northwest Periodontics encourage you to take a moment to read about the primary risk factors for gum disease.

Poor Oral Hygiene Habits

Not brushing or flossing teeth daily, or brushing improperly (as many people do) increases a person’s chances of getting gum disease. Brushing and flossing is important for removing from the mouth bacteria that can eventually lead to gum disease.

Smoking

Smoking is another principal risk factor for periodontal disease. In the United States, 64 percent of smokers have periodontal disease. Smoking reduces the production of saliva, which is helpful for washing away food particles and bacteria from the mouth. Smoking also constricts the blood vessels, reducing the flow of nutrients, oxygen and infection-fighting white blood cells to the gums.

Pregnancy

Female hormonal changes, such as those experienced during pregnancy, can make the gums more susceptible to gum disease.

Genetics

According to Dr. Darrin Rapoport, at least 50 percent of the risk relating to gum disease is genetic. If a member of your family has a history of gum disease, you are more prone to getting it than someone without a family history.

Bruxism

Tooth grinding or clenching puts excessive force on the tissues supporting the teeth, which can worsen existing gum disease.

Diabetes and Other Systemic Diseases

People with a history of diabetes are prone to getting gum disease. Other systemic diseases, like cardiovascular disease, have also been linked to gum disease.

Certain Medications

Antidepressants, oral contraceptives and other medications have been shown to heighten the risk of gum disease.

Are You Experiencing Symptoms of Gum Disease?

If you have red, swollen or tender gums, receding gums, spaces between your teeth or persistent bad breath, you should be screened for gum disease by the team at Pacific Northwest Periodontics. Our board-certified periodontists are Diplomates of the American Board of Periodontology, an honor bestowed upon only 10 percent of periodontists in North America. We offer the most advanced solutions to save teeth, gums and bone threatened by periodontal disease. Call or email our practice today to schedule an appointment with our periodontists.