Causes of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis or gum disease), is a progressive condition and may lead to loss of tooth if not treated. Periodontitis begins with the irritation and inflammation of the gingival tissues that support the teeth. This inflammation is caused by the toxins in plague which lead to a continuous bacterial infection.
When in the gingival tissue, the bacterial infection colonizes, causing the formation of deep pockets between the gums and teeth. If promptly treatment is given by a periodontist, the effects caused by mild inflammation can be reversed completely. However, the bacterial infection, if left untreated, periodontal disease will start destroying the underlying jawbone and the gums, resulting in tooth loss. Sometimes, the bacteria from the infection can get into other body parts through the bloodstream.
Common Causes of Gum Disease
Environmental and genetic factors are involved in the early stages of gum disease, and many times, taking preventative measures can significantly reduce the risk of having periodontitis.
Some of the most common causes of gum disease include:
- Poor dental hygiene – the first step of preventing dental disease is to adopt a healthy diet and good oral hygiene. Visiting the dental clinic regularly for exams, X-rays, and cleanings are also important. Combining professional care with excellent home care will help support bony structures as well as preserve the natural dentition. When calculus and bacteria remain in the mouth, bacterial toxins affect the gums and teeth and cause periodontitis and gingivitis, which eventually lead to tooth loss.
- Tobacco use – Research has shown that smoking and use of tobacco are factors that trigger the development of gum disease. Also, aside from the slow recovery experienced by smokers, they are likely to experience the build-up of calculus (tartar) on the teeth, bone loss, and deep pockets in the gingival tissue.
- Genetic predisposition – up to 30% of the population may have a strong genetic predisposition to gum disease despite adhering to good oral hygiene routine. These same individuals are also 6 times more likely to develop periodontal disease than normal people without genetic predisposition. The level of susceptibility can be determined through genetic tests, and early intervention can help maintain the health of the oral cavity.
- Menopause and Pregnancy – it is important to floss and brush regularly during pregnancy. Hormonal imbalance in the body can make the gum tissue more sensitive and prone to gum disease.
- Poor diet and chronic stress – stress reduces the ability of the immune system to defend body. Malnutrition and poor diet also reduce the body’s ability to combat periodontal infections.
- Diabetes and underlying medical issues – lots of medical issues can aid the developments of gum disease including arthritis, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, and heart disease. Diabetes prevents the body from utilizing insulin, making the bacterial infection in the gum more difficult to treat.
- Grinding teeth – the constant grinding of teeth can cause damage to the supporting tissue from around the teeth. When a person has gum disease, further damage to gingival tissue due to grinding can enhance the development of the disease.
- Medication – lots of drugs such as anti-depressants, contraceptive pills, steroids, and heart medicines can affect the general health of the gums and teeth, making them prone to gum disease. Steroid causes the overgrowth of the gingival tissue, allowing bacteria to colonize in the gum tissue easily.
Treatment of Gum Disease
Periodontists are specialists when it comes to treating gum disease and placing dental implants. A periodontist can carry out cleaning routines in deep pockets like root planning and scaling. Also, they can prescribe antifungal and antibiotic medications to treat or hinder the development of the disease.
The periodontist, in the case of tooth loss, can perform tissue grafts to spark the growth of natural tissue, and place dental implants if one or more teeth are missing. The periodontist can also recontour any defective gingival tissue to get a more beautiful and aesthetic appearance.
Preventing periodontal disease is crucial in maintaining the health of the teeth and preserving natural dentition. You can prevent the onset, development, and recurrence of periodontal disease by working and discussing with your dentist.
Please contact our office if you have any questions about the causes and treatment of gum disease.