Causes of Periodontal Disease

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Although periodontal disease is common, it is usually preventable. The cause of periodontal issues is usually poor or faulty oral hygiene. For instance, many people may brush regularly but not use dental floss, allowing gum disease to start between the teeth. Bacterial deposits build on the teeth and gums forming a film known as dental plaque. The bacterial plaque over time causes gum inflammation—over time the effects of gum disease can lead to tooth loss.

Over time the dental plaque may absorb chemicals from the saliva and can calcify forming a material known as dental calculus that CANNOT be removed with patient tooth brushing. A trained dental hygienist must carefully remove dental calculus using proper instruments.

There are many contributing factors to periodontal gum disease such as:

  • Improper brushing or flossing. Our dental hygienist and assistants are experts in instructing patients on the best techniques to remove bacterial plaque.
  • Dental decay harbors many of the same bacteria that cause gum disease.
  • Faulty dental restorations such as rough, over-bulky, or leaking fillings may harbor bacteria that can’t be removed by the patient.
  • Improper or old dental fillings or crowns may allow for food impaction between the teeth leading to decay or gum disease.
  • Bad general health or untreated diseases such as diabetes. It should be noted (and discussed elsewhere) that there is a large correlation between gum disease and cardiac disease, strokes, diabetes, respiratory disease, and a large number of other systemic diseases.
  • Corresponding to bad health is bad nutrition and stress that weaken the body’s immune system and eventually leading to gum disease.
  • Tooth grinding or bruxism—causes the support of teeth to be over-stressed can greatly accelerate gum disease and tooth loss.
  • Missing teeth-lead to remaining teeth being compromised due to over-stress on the support system and the teeth themselves.
  • Genetics and family—Like it or not—members of the same family share many of the same bacteria! Also—some families genetically are more predisposed to gum disease.
  • Smoking and tobacco use are highly correlated to progressive periodontal disease.
  • Crowded teeth, dental partial dentures, and dental bridges may make effective removal of plaque difficult.
  • Persons with diminished manual coordination such as elderly, dementia, mentally handicapped, and patients with physical injuries have issues with dexterity which makes it difficult to keep the gums healthy and the teeth clean.

Obviously—gum disease is a multi-faceted disease with many factors.—If you suspect gum disease consult with a knowledgeable dentist who can help diagnose and control the disease before it advances!


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