Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a serious medical issue. It’s important to know the causes of gum disease so that you can see your dentist as soon as possible if you feel you’re at risk. The earlier periodontal disease is detected, the better chance you have to heal quickly and keep your teeth.

The Causes of Periodontal Disease

The main culprit in gum disease is plaque. Plaque is a film that coats your teeth and is filled with harmful bacteria that causes your body to launch an immune response. This leads to inflammation and infection that begin to cause your gums to pull away from your teeth and form deep periodontal pockets. When bacteria start to fill these pockets, it will make the gum disease more severe and destructive, eventually leading to bone and tissue damage. Bone loss can lead to tooth loss or removal.

Certain factors can contribute to plaque on your teeth. These are:

Neglect – Not brushing, flossing or seeing your dentist can lead to a significant build-up of plaque on your teeth, leading to gum disease.

Tobacco Use – Smokers are much more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers.

Medications – Medicines like steroids or blood pressure pills that cause chronic dry mouth can make you vulnerable to gum disease.

Genetics – If you have family members with gum or dental issues, you’re more likely to have them yourself. Talk to your dentist about your family medical history.

Birth Control – Any type of medication that affects hormone levels, like birth control, can increase your chances for gum disease. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned that your birth control prescription is affecting your oral health.

Be sure to talk to your dentist if you suspect you may be suffering from gum disease. Dr. Zola Makrauer and Dr. Julie Miller of Huntingdon Valley Dental Arts can answer all your questions about periodontal disease. Call for an appointment today.