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Risk Factors for Gum Disease

Posted on 5/17/2017 by Anthony M. DiCesare
A patient suffering from gum disease.
Gum disease is a serious oral health issue that affects not only your gums, but your teeth and jawbone as well.

What starts out as a barely noticeable infection in your gums can quickly lead to gum recession, bone loss, loose teeth and, eventually, missing teeth. While poor oral hygiene is the most common contributing factor to gum disease, there are a few risk factors that can also increase your chances.


Smoking, or using tobacco products of any kind, put you at risk for several oral health issues, including oral cancer. It can also contribute to gum disease. Smoking restricts blood flow, which limits oxygen, as well as the delivery of vitamins and nutrients essential to gum health. Your gums heal slower, and become more susceptible to bacterial invasion.


Bruxism is a condition that involves the grinding and clenching of your teeth. This puts unnecessary wear on your teeth and can even cause gum recession. Worn enamel makes it easier for bacteria to eat away at your teeth, while receded gums allow bacteria to get in under the gum line.


Stress can cause several significant health issues, such as high blood pressure and heart conditions. It increases your likelihood of developing bruxism. It can also interfere with your body's ability to fight infection, including gum disease.

Systemic Diseases
Certain systemic diseases can increase your chances of developing gum disease, as they interfere with your inflammatory response. These include rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. High blood sugar from uncontrolled diabetes can also mean more sugar in your mouth, which provides food for oral bacteria, promoting their growth.

Research has indicated that genetics can play a role in the likelihood of gum disease. Even if you have impeccable oral hygiene habits, your genes could predispose you to its development anyway.

Poor Nutrition
Your gums require vitamins and nutrients to stay strong and healthy, which enables them to fight off bacterial invasion. A lack of sufficient nutrients compromises your immune system, putting you at greater risk. Also a risk factor, being overweight or obese.

While brushing and flossing can help to prevent gum disease, if you have certain risk factors, these habits may not be enough. Be sure to contact our office about the risk factors and to learn the best strategies to help you in gum disease prevention.

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