What Causes Gum Disease?

Gum disease, also known as gingivitis, is the inflammation of your gums or the tissues surrounding your teeth. Though common, the severity of this disease widely varies from person to person. You may notice that a person suffering from this disease has red, swollen gums. It is also characterized by bleeding gums even with slight brushing or flossing.

What causes gum disease?

Poor dental hygiene is the most common cause of gum disease. Without proper oral hygiene, plaque can build up on your teeth. It is that soft sticky mucus that forms on your teeth when not brushed or flossed. It can remain there and seep into your gums.

Aside from poor oral hygiene, there are many factors that contribute to the risk of developing gum disease. Among the most common are:

1. Bad lifestyle habits including:

a. Smoking

b. No regular dental check-ups or not visiting a dentist at all

c. Poor production of saliva or the mouth is always dry

d. Alcohol drinking. It affects the mouth’s natural defense against bacteria.

e. Breathing through the mouth. Without the protection of your lips, chronic inflammation and irritation of your gums can start.

f. Tobacco chewing. It prevents your gums from healing itself.

2. Bad eating habits

Plaque formation, the number one cause of gum disease, can be heightened by high carbohydrates and sugar intake. Poor nutrition, and not drinking enough water a day also contributes to this. Lack of Vitamin C in the body meanwhile, impairs the bodyâs ability to heal naturally, and that includes repairing your gums.

3. Serious health problems such as cancer and its treatment can cause gum disease because the body is weak, and is prone to infection. Diabetes mellitus, or Type 2 Diabetes, can also make a person prone to infection. It also disrupts the gumâs healing ability. On the other hand, seizures do not cause gum disease but medications used to treat it do.

4. Other causes of gum disease include:

a. Stress. It disrupts your body’s natural defense against an invasion of bacteria.

b. Hormonal changes during menopause, pregnancy and puberty. Women have a high rate of getting gum disease during these periods in their lives, especially during puberty. Blood vessels in the gums become prone to infection due to high levels of hormones in the body.

c. Uneven set of teeth such as crooked, overlapping or rotated teeth makes it hard to clean them and thus, have high risk of accumulating gum disease.

The Complications

Although similar in symptoms, gum disease is often mistaken for periodontitis or periodontal disease. The two are associated, but different. You see, if gum disease is left untreated, it can lead to periodontal disease. It is a condition when the bones below the gums have become infected and are inflamed.

Gum disease can also cause halitosis or bad breath if not properly addressed. You should be taking good care of your teeth to prevent gum disease, periodontitis, and bad breath.