What Are the Causes of Gum Disease?

Posted by OC ADVANCED PERIODONTICS on Sep 11 2022, 05:21 AM

What Are the Causes of Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an infection that affects the gums. It starts with plaque, which sticks to the teeth. Plaque contains bacteria that can damage the tissue surrounding the teeth. Symptoms of gum disease include red, swollen, or bleeding gums.

Anyone can develop gum disease. However, some people are at greater risk than others. Risk factors include:

Poor Oral Hygiene

When you don’t brush and floss properly, then plaque can build up in your mouth and harden into tartar. This tartar cannot be removed by brushing or flossing and can only be removed by a dentist. Tartar makes it more difficult to clean your teeth, which makes gum disease worse thoroughly.


Your family history of gum disease or tooth loss can also play a role in your risk for gum disease. If your parents have gum disease, then you are at higher risk.

Other Medical Conditions

In some cases, gum disease can be caused by other medical conditions. For example, diabetes can cause gum disease and dry mouth. Other medical conditions that can affect the health of your gums include:

  • Hormonal changes and pregnancy
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Leukemia
  • Diabetes
  • Lung disease

Hormonal changes

The hormonal changes of puberty, pregnancy and menopause can increase a woman’s risk for gum disease.

Hormonal changes can cause the gums to become sensitive, swollen, and red. These symptoms can progress to bleeding when brushing or flossing.

Tobacco Products

Tobacco products contain thousands of chemicals that harm your body. Some of these chemicals can irritate your gums, leading to gum disease. Tobacco also makes it harder for your gums to heal.

Smoking also increases your risk of oral cancer. The chemicals in tobacco products can reduce the amount of saliva your mouth produces. Saliva helps wash away bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease.


Your medications can affect the health of your gums. Some medications can cause dry mouth, which increases the chances of developing gum disease. Some medications can also cause a side effect of gingival overgrowth, which is when gums swell up.


Stress can cause blood vessels to constrict, resulting in high blood pressure and an increased heart rate. It can also trigger inflammation throughout the body, which can hinder the immune system’s ability to fight bacteria in the mouth. It can also increase the production of cortisol, a hormone that can lead to excess plaque buildup and gum disease.

If you suspect you have gum disease, see your dentist as soon as possible.

To learn more, schedule an appointment with Dr. Huston at OC Advanced Periodontics by calling (714) 730-7877 or visiting us at 1076 E 1st St STE F, Tustin, CA 92780.

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