Periodontitis Risk Factors

Periodontitis is an inflammation of the bone, gums and supporting structure of the teeth. It is a bacterial infection that afflicts the tooth’s root and crevices in the gum tissue. Periodontitis is gum disease.

Most professionals agree that gum disease can be prevented. They often refer to ‘good oral hygiene’ habits as the key to preventing gum disease. I would agree. However, what does good oral hygiene constitute? Some say that brushing, flossing and having professional cleanings done once every six months is enough to prevent gum disease. Yet, 75 percent of Americans over the age of 35 have gum disease and 60% of those do not know anything or very little about gum disease.

There may be a problem with patient education or it could be that regular brushing and flossing as well as every-six-months professional cleanings may not be enough to prevent gum disease in everyone after all. Discerning the truth of the matter may be difficult.

What kind of risk factors might contribute to the likelihood of periodontitis developing in your mouth? There are several. These factors were noted on the FDA’s website.

Smoking – People who smoke may be seven times more likely to develop periodontitis than people who don’t smoke. Smoking is bad for virtually every part of our bodies and hour gum tissue’s health is also affected by it. The increased risk for gum disease is yet one more reason to quit now.

Hormonal Changes – Hormones appear to have a major impact on the health of our gums. You may have heard the term ‘pregnancy gingivitis’ before. Though a person may be more susceptible to this disease it may still be prevented. Gum disease should not be considered inevitable.

Stress – Limits the body’s ability to fight off disease. No surprise there.

Medication – A side effect to certain medications is to decrease the flow of saliva. Saliva is helpful in protecting the health of both the teeth and the gums. Other drugs, like diphenylhydantoin (for convulsions) and nifedipine for angina, can cause abnormal growth of gum tissue.

Poor Nutrition – Not getting the right nutrients to keep the body healthy may contribute to the progression of many diseases indirectly and sometimes directly. This has to do with giving the body the nutrients it needs to repair itself properly as well as promoting a strong immune system. “You are what you eat”, as the saying goes. Eating sugar may increase the acidity of the mouth, this often creates a better environment for bacterial to live in.

Illnesses – May interfere with your body’s ability to fight off additional infection, including the kind that leads to gum disease.

Grinding Teeth – This often happens when we are sleeping. I know I have this problem and I try to wear a dental guard. These guards can be obtained at virtually any drug store.

If you have or think you might have gum disease, gingivitis or any other oral health condition, contact your dentist for diagnosis and treatment.

David Snape is the author of What You Should Know about Gum Disease – an important book considering that the majority of adults suffer from some form of gum disease. David also answers questions on any health, fitness or wellness topic at his blog: – David believes in oral irrigation to help fight against gum disease and that the premiere oral irrigation device on the market is the Hydro Floss Oral Irrigator.

About the author