Factors Contributing to Periodontal Diseases

Plaque or bacteria are the primary causes of periodontal diseases. However, some factors can affect the progress of the disease.

1) If you smoke or use tobacco products you are more likely get periodontal disease at an early age. Also, the disease may be more severe and healing may take longer after treatment. Tobacco appears to depress the local immune system in the gum tissues. Without this protection to fight infection, bacteria accumulate in the underlying tooth support structures. Also, if you smoke, you will grow more of the disease-causing bacteria than non-smokers.

2) Women, during puberty and pregnancy, may have gum problems due to hormone changes. An increase in the hormone progesterone will cause the gum tissues to overreact to very minor irritants. Periodontal disease that has been lying undetected can often surface at this time.

3) Stress can also depress the immune system and make it difficult to fight infectious disease like periodontal disease.

4) Medications, such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants and certain heart medication can affect oral health. Always tell your dental care professional what medication you are taking and about any change in your health history.

5) Clenching or grinding the teeth in the presence of bacteria can speed up the rate of destruction of the supporting tooth bone. The excessive force appears to be a contributing factor but the exact mechanism is not clear.

6) Periodontal disease tends to be more severe in uncontrolled diabetes. Recent studies have shown that active periodontal disease will make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels. When periodontal disease control is achieved blood sugar levels improve. A gum check-up might be called for if you are a poorly controlled diabetic.

7) Poor nutrition may make it more difficult for the body to fight infection. A well-balanced diet will help maintain periodontal health.