Causes of Periodontal Disease

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Also known as periodontitis and gum disease, periodontal disease is an inflammatory ailment that attacks the gum and bone around the teeth.  Plaque is a sticky deposit on teeth in which bacteria multiply and if gone unattended, transform into calculus (tartar).

Deep pockets are created between the teeth and gums when the bacterial contamination settles in the gingival tissue. Quick treatment must be initiated in order to reverse the mild inflammation. Caution must be taken to prevent the bacteria from spreading as it will destroy the jawbone and the gums, causing tooth loss. Various parts of the human body can also become infected as the infection travel through the bloodstream.

What are the common causes of gum disease?

Environmental and generic factor play a huge role in the initial stages of gum disease. Taking preventive measures can exponentially decrease the possibility of periodontitis.

Causes of gum disease:

Poor dental hygiene: In order to prevent gum disease, a healthy diet and consistent oral hygiene begin at home. X-rays, cleanings and examinations with your dentist are key to maintaining a good oral hygiene. Professional dental care and home-care will undeniably help maintain the bone structures of your teeth. The gums and bone around the teeth become impacted by bacteria and toxins when tartar and bacteria remain on the teeth. This may potentially cause gingivitis and periodontitis which can lead to tooth loss.

Tobacco use: One of the main factors that influence gum disease is the use of tobacco and smoking. Smokers have an increased chance of suffering from calculus (tartar) accumulation on the teeth than a non-smoker. As a result, the mouth experiences deep pockets in the gingival tissue and significant bone loss.

Additionally, a smoker has a slower recovery and healing rate than a non-smoker.

Genetic predisposition: According to studies, genetic predisposition to gum disease is a high factor in 30% of the population. Predisposition to gum disease causes people to be six times more susceptible to developing periodontitis. Oral cavity can stay healthy through genetic tests that depict vulnerability to gum disease.

Pregnancy and menopause: Consistent brushing and flossing should be a regular habit during pregnancy. Gum tissues may often times become more sensitive when the body goes through hormonal fluctuations.

Chronic stress and poor diet: Continuous stress prevents the immune system’s ability to fight off disease, causing vulnerability towards bacterial infections. An unhealthy diet or malnutrition may also decreases the ability for your immune system to fight against infections brought on by periodontitis.

Diabetes and underlying medical issues: Heart disease, respiratory disease, arthritis and osteoporosis are medical condition that increases the potential for gum disease. Bacterial infections become even more challenging to eliminate in diabetes as it prevents the body from using the insulin it creates.

 Grinding teeth: Grinding or clenching teeth carry the potential to harm the tissues surrounding the teeth. The term for teeth grinding are most often associated with the misalignment of the teeth or “bad bite.”  Grinding of the teeth during the onset of gum disease causes even more destruction to the gingival tissue.

Medication: Various types of medication impact the entire condition of the teeth and gum. Oral contraceptive pills, anti-depressants, heart medicines, and steroids cause the teeth to become more vulnerable to gum disease. Additionally, steroid stimulates the overgrowth of gingivitis, instigating the settlement of bacteria to flourish in the gum tissue.


Treatment of Gum Disease

Periodontists are professionals who perform dental implants and treat gum disease. They specialize in scaling and root planing deep pockets in the gum. The prescription of antifungal medication and antibiotics also assist in treating infection and cease the disease from developing.

In the case of a tooth loss, a periodontist specializes in grafting tissues in deep pockets that increases natural regeneration of the tissue. An alternative to tissue regeneration is supplementing the tooth loss with dental implants. The periodontist can also re-contour gum recession that may occur as a result of gingivitis, creating a smooth and appealing appearance.

Natural dentition is obtained by preventing periodontal disease. Taking initiative to speak to you dentist about the sources for gum disease will assist in the prevention and development of periodontal disease.


Please ask your dentist if you have any questions or pertaining to periodontal disease. 

Experienced and Highly-Trained


Southern California Family Dentistry - Hossein Jahangiri DDS - Dentist - Whittier, Lake Forest, San Clemente


General, Implant & Cosmetic Dentist, Clinical Director, SCFD & Portside Dentistry


General, Cosmetic and Restorative Dentist


With Locations in Whittier, Lake Forest and San Clemente