Three Common Causes of Gum Disease

13 April 2017
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


Gum disease (often referred to by dentists as periodontal disease) is a condition which results in inflammation of the gums and the teeth's supporting structures. Those who develop this disease may find that their gums bleed very easily and become both red and swollen. Over time, if they fail to have the issue treated by a dentist, they may experience receding of the gum line and tooth loss. Here are three common causes of this dental condition.

Poor oral hygiene

Bacterial plaque inside the mouth uses the starchy and sugary foods that a person consumes to produce acid. If plaque is not removed from the teeth on a regular basis, this acid will result in both gum inflammation and erosion of the tooth enamel (the hard, protective outer layer which protects the inside of the tooth from damage).

As such, if a person fails to regularly brush and floss their teeth, or does so half-heartedly (i.e., only swishing the toothbrush around their mouth for a few seconds), they will be far more susceptible to gum disease than those who stick to a consistent and thorough oral hygiene routine.

Hormonal fluctuations

Changes in a person's hormone levels can also increase their risk of developing gum disease. During puberty, both girls and boys have a higher chance of experiencing gum inflammation. Similarly, the hormonal fluctuations that happen in a woman's body when she becomes pregnant or goes through menopause also increase the likelihood of her suffering from gum disease. This is because changes in hormone levels often result in more blood flowing into the gums. This, in turn, impacts the gum tissues' ability to withstand exposure to inflammatory plaque acids.

Whilst one cannot prevent these types of hormonal fluctuations, it is possible to minimise the impact they have on a person's oral health. For example, pregnant women can increase the frequency of their professional teeth cleanings during their pregnancy.

Chronic stress

Chronic stress can wreak havoc on a person's oral health. This is largely due to the fact that constant stress places a great deal of strain on the immune system and, in doing so, makes it harder for the body to fight off gum inflammation and infection.

Stress can also indirectly affect the health of a person's gums. Many individuals consume alcohol, eat sugary foods and smoke cigarettes in the hopes of temporarily lowering their stress levels. However, these activities are all known to increase a person's chances of developing periodontal disease.