What Causes Gum Disease?

By Montefiore Medical Center
March 15, 2019

Gums Treatment Bronx NYIf you’ve been looking in the mirror lately, but surprised by what you see, it could be the beginnings of gum disease. Periodontitis is a serious infection of the gums that damages soft tissue and also depletes the underlying bone that holds your teeth in place. Periodontitis can even cause your teeth to loosen or, in extreme cases, to fall out and be lost permanently.

Periodontitis is, sadly, quite common but also preventable in many cases. It usually comes about because of a lack of poor oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once daily and seeing your dentist for regular check-ups can improve your chances of successful periodontitis treatment. In fact, doing these things can greatly reduce your chance of developing this horrible infection. If you are worried you may have gum disease, keep reading.

Risk factors

Factors that can increase your risk of periodontitis include:

● Gingivitis

● Poor oral health habits

● Conditions that decrease immunity, like leukemia or HIV/AIDS

● Certain diseases, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease

● Smoking or chewing tobacco

● Hormonal changes, such as those related to pregnancy or menopause

● Substance abuse

● Obesity

● Inadequate nutrition, including vitamin C deficiency

● Medications that cause dry mouth

Causes of Gum Disease

In most cases, periodontitis starts with plaque, a sticky film which is composed mainly of bacteria and rests on the surface of the teeth. If left untreated, plaque can lead to periodontitis. First, plaque forms on your teeth when sugars in food interact with bacteria in your mouth. Brushing your teeth twice a day removes plaque, but plaque will re-form. Then, if it is untreated, plaque can harden under the gum line into tartar. Tartar is harder, and more difficult to remove. The longer plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more bad bacteria can do harm. Tartar can’t be removed by brushing and flossing, which is why seeing your dentist regularly is so important.

Make sure to see your dentist for regular checkups to maintain your dental health. Give us a call today at (888) 700-6623 to learn more about how we can help.

Periodontal disease

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