What Causes Gum Disease?

What Causes Gum Disease?

Posted by Dental Health PC on Aug 31 2022, 04:45 AM

Gum disease is an infection of the structures around the teeth. The most common form of gum disease is gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums. It can cause the gums to bleed, become red, or swell. It is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. Thankfully, it is treatable, and patients can schedule an appointment to learn more about their treatment options. 

Here are some of the most common factors that lead to gum disease:

Poor Oral Hygiene

Gum disease occurs when plaque and tartar buildup on the surface of the teeth. Plaque is a sticky substance that naturally forms in the mouth and contains bacteria. If plaque is not removed each day, it can harden into tartar. Once tartar forms, it cannot be removed with simple brushing and flossing. Tartar can only be removed by a dental professional. Not removing plaque from the teeth can lead to gum disease.

Genetic Predisposition

Everyone has a different genetic makeup. Some people are just more susceptible to developing gum disease and tooth decay. Some of our patients have told us that their parents and grandparents had problems with their gums and teeth, so they know they need to take extra care.

If you are worried that you may be genetically predisposed to problems with your teeth, you should talk to your dentist.

Hormonal Imbalances

Hormones can affect a lot of things, including your oral health. Hormonal changes affect the way your body responds to plaque, causing your gums to become inflamed.

As hormone levels change, you may notice that your gums are red and swollen, bleed easily, or feel tender to the touch. This condition is called gingivitis, and it’s an early stage of gum disease.

If gingivitis is left untreated, it will develop into periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease. Periodontitis causes your gums to pull away from your teeth, which causes them to lose their support. Your teeth will become loose and may eventually fall out.

Other Medical Conditions

Gum disease often occurs alongside medical conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune disorders. Medical conditions affect your body’s ability to fight off infection, making gum disease more likely.

Medical conditions can also change your body’s chemistry, which can affect your gum health. For example, diabetes increases your chances of developing gum disease because diabetes lowers the body’s resistance to infection.

If you have a medical condition, talk to your dentist about ways to manage your condition and your dental health.

Tobacco Use

Tobacco use is one of the most significant risk factors for developing gum disease. In fact, nearly half of all adult smokers have some form of gum disease. Tobacco causes plaque to form faster, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Tobacco use can also lower the success rate of gum disease treatment.

Smoking and tobacco use can also increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Your dentist may perform oral cancer screenings during your routine dental checkups.

Infrequent Dental Appointments

The less you visit your dentist, the more plaque and bacteria can build up in your mouth. The longer you wait between visits, the more likely you are to develop gum disease.

While gum disease is treatable, it is irreversible. If left untreated, gum disease can destroy your gums, teeth, and jawbone.


During pregnancy, hormonal changes can increase your risk for gum disease. That’s because estrogen and progesterone hormones can cause the gums to become inflamed.

Hormonal changes can also increase blood flow to the gums. This can make your gums more sensitive and prone to bleeding.


Medications often cause dry mouth, which disrupts saliva production in the mouth. Unfortunately, saliva helps the body maintain healthy teeth and gums. A dry mouth allows bacteria to linger, leading to cavities and gum disease.

Some medications can also cause gum disease. Chemotherapy treatments, for example, are known to cause gingival overgrowth. Other medications, including heart medicines, antidepressants, and antihistamines, can cause dry mouth.

For more tips on good oral health, visit Dental Health PC at 869 NW 23rd Street, Corvallis, OR 97330. Call us at (541) 757 1829 to book an appointment. We will be happy to help you further.

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869 NW 23rd Street, Corvallis, OR 97330

Phone: (541) 757-1829

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Tuesday : 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Wednesday : 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Thursday : 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Friday : Closed

Saturday : Closed

Sunday : Closed

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Email: office@corvallisdentalhealth.com

Phone: (541) 757-1829