7 Risk Factors for Gum Disease

risk factors for gum disease

7 Risk Factors for Gum Disease

Have you ever wondered if you were at risk for gum disease? Most people probably don’t spend much time thinking about it, but there’s a chance you have one or more risk factors that could increase your chances of developing gum (periodontal) disease. The good news is that if caught early, gum disease is preventable. However if it progresses to the advanced stage, known as periodontitis, irreversible damage will occur, including possibly losing teeth. Knowing the risk factors for gum disease can help prevent it from occurring in the first place.

7 Common Risk Factors for Gum Disease

1. Poor oral hygiene

The most common cause of gum disease is a buildup of calculus on the teeth, which leads to infection and inflammation of the gums. This buildup is often the result of improper daily oral hygiene at home (brushing and flossing), as well as not scheduling regular dental cleanings.

2. Smoking 

Smokers are twice as likely to develop gum disease because smoking weakens the immune system’s ability to fight infection. It also makes it more difficult for your gums to heal from gum disease. Excellent dental hygiene is a must for smokers, but quitting is the ideal option as it can save your dental health, as well as improve your overall health.

3. Aging

Unfortunately, we don’t have any control over this risk factor. As we age, our bodies naturally become more susceptible to infection and disease, increasing gum disease. However, good oral hygiene habits can mitigate this risk as well. The younger you start taking care of your teeth, the more likely you are to have healthy teeth and gums into your golden years. 

4. Genetics

Heredity can also put you at a greater risk for gum disease. Up to 30% of people may be genetically predisposed. But again, you can still prevent it. 

4. Underlying health issues

Chronic inflammatory diseases, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cardiovascular disease, increase your chances of developing gum disease. Conversely, gum disease can also increase your risk for developing these inflammatory conditions.

5. Medication

Certain prescription medications can cause xerostomia, or dry mouth. Not only does saliva help wash away food debris, it also contains properties that help fight bacteria. So a diminished saliva production increases the risk for tooth decay and gum disease. 

6. Bruxism 

Teeth grinding and clenching (bruxism), can also put you at risk for developing gum disease. Because grinding puts a lot of stress on your teeth, they begin to loosen, creating small gaps between the roots and the gum tissue. As bacteria builds up in these gaps, gum disease can result.

7. Poor nutrition

Nutrients in food help build your immune system so that it can fight harmful invaders in your body, including bacteria that lead to gum disease. Moreover, a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates can weaken tooth enamel, making your teeth more prone to a buildup of bacterial plaque that causes tooth decay and gum disease.

Holistic Gum Disease Treatment in Prescott

Preventing gum disease from developing with good daily oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings here at Prescott Dentistry is your best bet for keeping your mouth healthy. However, if you do develop gum disease, catching it before it reaches the advanced stage is the best way to prevent permanent damage to your teeth and gums. If you’re concerned about any of these risk factors for gum disease or are experiencing symptoms like bleeding gums or gum recession, schedule your appointment with us today.


Image used under creative commons license – commercial use (5/25/2022). Photo by Steven Aguilar on Unsplash