Risk Factors for Gum Disease

Risk Factors for Gum Disease

Posted by Lisa J Baker, DDS on Mar 21 2023, 08:07 AM

Gum disease is an infection that damages the gum tissue. Gingivitis is the earliest stage, and it causes red and swollen gums. If untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, which can result in tooth loss. Here are some common causes of gum disease:

Tobacco Use

Smoking or using other tobacco products can increase your risk for gum disease and tooth loss. These products contain harmful chemicals that can also affect your oral health. People who smoke or use other kinds of tobacco are more likely to get cavities, gum recession, and oral infections than people who don’t use these products. Cigarette smoking also causes bad breath and yellowed teeth.


When a person has a family history of gum disease, they may be more susceptible to developing the disease themselves. While genes aren’t the only determining factor when it comes to a person’s oral health, they can play a significant role. If a parent or sibling has had gum disease, they may want to consider having more frequent cleanings at their dentist’s office in order to reduce their chances of also getting the disease.

If the disease is already present, a dentist may recommend more intensive treatments such as scaling and root planing to help reduce the damage that has already been done to the gum tissues. This can help prevent further damage from occurring to teeth and the surrounding bone.

If a person has a genetic predisposition toward gum disease, they shouldn’t feel discouraged from seeking treatment for their oral issues. The earlier the condition is treated, the better the prognosis will be in the long run.

Hormonal Imbalances

Hormone imbalances may weaken your immune system, which can put you at risk for periodontal disease. Some common symptoms of hormonal imbalance include:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Fatigue or lethargy
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks
  • Mood swings

Each of these symptoms can affect your oral health and increase your risk of gum disease. Talk to your dentist about any hormonal issues you’re having and how they might be affecting your body. They can advise you on how best to manage your hormones for a healthier smile.

Diabetes and Other Medical Conditions

People with diabetes or conditions that cause inflammation are at higher risk for gum disease, but you can help protect yourself by maintaining good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride, floss daily, and visit the dentist regularly. If your dentist identifies gum disease early, you may only need regular cleanings to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Dr. Lisa Baker and her caring team want their Bloomington area patients to enjoy beautiful, healthy smiles. For more information on dental procedures, call us for a consultation at (812) 269-8230.

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