The main cause of periodontal disease is dental plaque. Several other factors can contribute, however.
Genes: Current research shows that as much as 30% of the population may have a strong genetic susceptibility to gum disease. This means that, despite practicing meticulous oral hygiene habits, such individuals are six times more likely to develop periodontal disease. Genetic tests can verify this predisposition so the person may begin periodontal treatment early.
Poor oral hygiene: When plaque is not removed effectively with proper dental hygiene habits, the gums and bone that support the teeth become infiltrated by bacterial toxins, which may lead to gingivitis and periodontitis, and eventual tooth loss.
Preventing gum disease begins at home with good oral hygiene habits. Once plaque becomes hardened and the pockets (spaces) around the teeth deepen, however, removal requires professional treatment.
Smoking: There is compelling evidence to suggest that smoking is the most powerful environmental factor associated with periodontal disease. Tobacco products not only have a direct detrimental effect on periodontal tissues, but they can also reduce your body’s immune response in fighting infection.
Clinical studies indicate that smokers have a higher percentage of deep pockets around their gums, greater calculus buildup around the teeth, and greater bone loss around teeth as well. Dr. Goyal can talk to you about a smoking cessation protocol that’s most suitable for you when you are ready.
Pregnancy/Hormonal Changes: Hormonal changes influence many areas of your body, including your mouth. Your gums can become more sensitive during pregnancy, which may lead to a heightened gingival inflammatory response to plaque. Therefore, comprehensive monitoring and periodontal treatment are advisable for all patients during pregnancy, and other periods of hormonal change.
Stress: Stress may serve as a factor to amplify one’s susceptibility to periodontal disease. Physical and mental stress are known to reduce the ability of the immune system to fight disease. Therefore, stress can increase your susceptibility to periodontal disease by decreasing the effectiveness of the immune system cells that are capable of fighting off bacteria.
Systemic factors: Over the past decade, research has focused on the impact of periodontal disease and systemic health. Numerous cross-sectional studies have indicated an association between periodontal diseases and other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and chronic pulmonary disease.
So treating inflammation may not only help manage periodontal diseases, but may also help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions.
Periodontal disease, a chronic inflammatory disease, is linked to other health risks:
- Heart disease and stroke signs and symptoms
- Pregnancy problems
- Respiratory diseases