What Causes Gum Disease?

Serving Chicago, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and surrounding areas in Illinois

Aside from cavities, gum disease is the most common dental issue, affecting an estimated 80% of American adults at some point in their lives. Also known as gingivitis, if gum disease isn’t detected and treated in a timely manner, then a patient could end up developing periodontal disease which eventually causes additional oral health issues such as tooth loss. Although gum disease is treatable, it is better to be informed about what causes it in the first place so as to avoid developing the issue entirely.

Common Causes of Gum Disease

  • Lifestyle. Drinking alcohol, smoking, or chewing tobacco are all causes of gum disease. Alcohol inhibits your body’s ability to kill off plaque and other bacteria that cause gum disease, while tobacco products are essentially poisonous to healthy gum tissue.
  • Diet. Low water intake, a diet high in carbohydrates and sugar all attribute to the development of gingivitis. Eating fibrous fruits and vegetables can help clear away plaque from the surface of teeth while drinking water consistently throughout the day flushes away bad bacteria.
  • Infrequent Dental Cleanings. This is a major culprit! Since gum disease rarely shows signs and symptoms, most individuals don’t realize they have it. Seeing your dentist on a regular basis is important to improving and maintaining your oral health.
  • Genetics. Sometimes luck just isn’t on our side when it comes to oral health (though that doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause!). If you are prone to dry mouth symptoms and poor saliva production, stress, mouth breathing or diabetes mellitus then you may be at risk for developing gum disease more easily than those without these predispositions.
  • Poor Bite. Those with a misaligned bite, crooked, or crowded teeth may develop gingivitis. The reason is due to the increased hiding places for plaque and bacteria to build up throughout the day. It is generally recommended to brush after each meal and floss at least once a day to remove any remaining food particles from between the crowded spaces. Luckily common cosmetic dentistry procedures can fix a misaligned bite and reduce the chances of gum disease.

If you are experiencing pain while brushing your teeth, notice that your gums are bleeding after brushing or flossing, or can see that your gums are inflamed, then it’s important to book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to determine whether or not these symptoms are related to gum disease.

Call Dr. Alfe!