What Are the Main Causes of Gum Disease?

What Are the Main Causes of Gum Disease?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an oral health condition affecting millions of people. Gum disease occurs when bacteria build up around teeth and gums. This buildup can cause irritation and inflammation, which can destroy gum tissue and even cause tooth loss.

Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease. When gingivitis is left untreated, it begins to progress into periodontitis. Periodontitis is a more severe stage of gum disease that can cause gum recession, bone loss, and even tooth loss.

Here are the main risk factors that lead to gum disease:

Poor Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene is certainly a leading cause of gum disease. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the surface of teeth. When you do not regularly brush and floss your teeth, plaque will build up along the gum line. It irritates and inflames the gums, often leading to bleeding gums. When you don’t remove plaque buildup from the teeth, it can harden and turn into tartar. This harder substance can only be removed with a professional cleaning.


Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors for gum disease. Tobacco use can lead to receding gums as well as bad breath and stained teeth. Additionally, smoking can also increase your risk of oral cancer. If you smoke, quitting can lower your risk of gum disease.

Studies have shown that smokers are four times more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers. Tobacco slows the body’s ability to heal. Smokers tend to have more severe cases of gum disease than non-smokers.


Gum disease doesn’t just happen randomly. You’re more likely to get it if your parents or siblings had it.

That’s because genetics sometimes plays a big part in the susceptibility of gum disease. If family members had gum disease in its mild form, you’re more likely to have it as well. But if your family didn’t experience gum disease, you’re less likely to get it.

If gum disease runs in your family, take preventive measures and contact your dentist at the first signs of it.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes, such as those experienced during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, can increase your risk for gum disease. Hormonal fluctuations can cause your gums to become sensitive, inflamed, and more susceptible to infection.


Many medications can contribute to gum disease. Some are directly responsible for causing gum disease, while others indirectly cause gum disease. For example, antihistamines cause dry mouth, which increases your risk of gum disease. But antihistamines aren’t always to blame for dry mouth. Certain medications, including blood pressure medications, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and hormone medications, can cause dry mouth.

Common Treatments for Gum Disease

When caught early, gum disease can usually be managed by professional cleaning and improved at-home care. Your dentist may also provide you with professional treatments, such as scaling and root planing. These treatments are both used to clean beneath the gum line and around the roots of your teeth. This can help eliminate plaque from beneath the gum line, which is one of the primary causes of gum disease.

To learn more about our dental procedures, call Cheyenne Mountain Dental at (719) 576-3276 to schedule your appointment, or visit us at 3605 Star Ranch Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906. For more information, please contact info@cheyennemountaindental.com.


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