Periodontal Disease Risks

Dr. Andrea Benitez Dentist | General Practice Miami, FL

Dr. Andrea Benitez is a Dentist practicing in Miami, FL. Dr. Benitez specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and treating diseases and conditions associated with the mouth and overall dental health. Dentists are trained to carry out such treatment as professional cleaning, restorative, prosthodontic, and endodontic procedures,... more

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a common condition that affects the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. Several factors can increase the risk of developing periodontal disease. Here are some of the key risk factors:

  1. Poor oral hygiene: Inadequate oral hygiene practices, such as infrequent or improper brushing and flossing, can lead to the accumulation of plaque and tartar, which are major contributors to gum disease.
  2. Smoking and tobacco use: Tobacco use, including smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco, significantly increases the risk of periodontal disease. Smoking weakens the immune system and impairs blood flow to the gums, making it harder for the body to fight off infection.
  3. Genetic predisposition: Some individuals may be genetically more susceptible to periodontal disease. Certain genetic variations can affect the body's immune response and make it more difficult to combat the bacteria that cause gum disease.
  4. Hormonal changes: Hormonal fluctuations that occur during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can make the gums more sensitive and susceptible to gum disease. It is not uncommon for pregnant women to experience a condition called pregnancy gingivitis.
  5. Diabetes: People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing various infections, including gum disease. Conversely, periodontal disease can also make it harder for diabetics to control their blood sugar levels.
  6. Certain medications: Some medications, such as oral contraceptives, antidepressants, and certain heart medications, can affect oral health and increase the risk of gum disease. It is important to inform your dentist about any medications you are taking.
  7. Chronic stress: High levels of stress can weaken the immune system and make it harder for the body to fight off infections, including gum disease. Stress can also lead to poor oral hygiene habits and increase the risk of developing periodontal disease.
  8. Poor nutrition: A diet lacking in essential nutrients can weaken the immune system and compromise oral health. A balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and foods rich in vitamins and minerals is crucial for maintaining healthy gums.
  9. Grinding or clenching teeth (bruxism): Excessive teeth grinding or clenching can put excessive pressure on the gums and supporting structures, leading to gum recession and increasing the risk of gum disease.

It's worth noting that having one or more of these risk factors doesn't necessarily mean you will develop periodontal disease. However, it's important to be aware of these factors and take appropriate steps to maintain good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.