What Are the Causes of Gum Disease?

What Are the Causes of Gum Disease?

Posted by Steven H. Brenman DMD on Oct 12 2022, 07:18 AM

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a serious infection that breaks down the supporting structures of the teeth. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adult patients.

Here are the common factors that result in gum disease:

Poor Dental Hygiene

Plaque buildup on the teeth is the main cause of gum disease, but poor oral care habits can also cause it. Failing to brush and floss properly allows bacteria to build up in the mouth. When that plaque hardens and is not removed, gums become red and inflamed. The infection can then spread to the jaw bone causing tooth loss.

Flossing at least once a day is crucial to preventing gum disease. Brushing twice a day is also needed to remove plaque from the surfaces of teeth and along the gum line. These practices are essential to keep teeth and gums clean and healthy.


While oral hygiene habits are the leading cause of gum disease, it's not the only factor at play. Some people have a gene that makes them predisposed to developing gum disease even when they practice good oral health habits. Our genes can dictate how likely we are to get certain diseases or conditions, including gum disease.

In fact, science has shown that we inherit our risk for gum disease from our parents. If their parents had periodontal disease, then there's a good chance their children will too. That's why it's important to make patients aware of their risk for developing gum disease so they can be extra vigilant when visiting a dentist and practicing good oral hygiene at home.

Other Common Factors

Other risk factors for gum disease include smoking, systemic health problems such as diabetes and heart disease, poor nutrition, dry mouth, and other breathing issues, and certain medications. This is why it's important for patients to discuss any risk factors they have with their dentist so they can create a personalized prevention plan to keep their smile healthy for as long as possible.

Hormonal Changes

Hormones may cause your gums to bleed and swell. They also increase your chances of developing gingivitis, an early form of gum disease. They can also cause pregnancy gingivitis, which affects about 50 percent of all pregnant women. Some women develop this gingivitis in the second trimester of their pregnancies. Women who become pregnant are at an increased risk for developing gum disease because of hormonal changes. During pregnancy, their bodies produce different hormones than normal. The hormone progesterone is responsible for causing an increase in blood flow to the gums. This can cause the gums to become inflamed and cause them to bleed easily.


Many of the medications you may take on a daily basis to treat chronic conditions can contribute to gum disease. Many prescription drugs can cause dry mouth, which can leave teeth vulnerable to decay and infection. Furthermore, taking certain blood pressure drugs can negatively alter your immune response to infection, which can delay healing time. This can also put you at greater risk for gum disease. Talk to your dentist about the specific nature of your medication to determine if you may be at increased risk for oral health conditions like periodontitis or dry mouth.

If you wish to learn more about gum disease, make an appointment with our dental experts. Visit us at Steven H. Brenman DMD, 1311 Bay St, Staten Island NY 10305. Call us to book an appointment at 718 6502199.

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Steven H. Brenman DMD

1311 Bay St Staten Island, NY 10305

1311 Bay St

(718) 650-2199

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