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Periodontal Risk Factors


The main cause of periodontal disease is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth. However, factors like the following also affect the health of your gums:

Smoking/Tobacco Use

Tobacco use is linked with many serious illnesses such as cancer, lung disease and heart disease, as well as numerous other health problems. What you may not know is that tobacco users also are at increased risk for periodontal disease. In fact, recent studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors and smokers are three times more likely to develop periodontal disease compared with non-smokers.


Research proves that up to 30% of the population may be genetically susceptible to gum disease. Despite good oral care habits, genetically predisposed people may be six times more likely to develop periodontal disease. Identifying the genetic risks of periodontal disease before you show signs of the disease and getting you into a treatment program at our office could help you keep your teeth for your lifetime.

Pregnancy & Puberty

Women’s health needs are unique. Brushing and flossing daily, a healthy diet, and regular exercise are all important to help you stay in shape. You also know that at specific times in your life, you need to take extra care of yourself. Times when you mature and change, for example, puberty or menopause, and times when you have special health needs, such as menstruation or pregnancy. During these particular times, your body experiences hormonal changes. These changes can affect many of the tissues in your body, including your gums. Your gums can become sensitive, and at times react strongly to the hormonal fluctuations. This may make you more susceptible to gum disease. Additionally, recent studies suggest that pregnant women with gum disease are seven times more likely to deliver preterm, low birth weight babies than women without periodontal disease.

Pregnancy & Puberty

Stress is linked to many serious conditions such as hypertension, cancer, and numerous other health problems. Stress also is a risk factor for periodontal disease. Stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection, including periodontal diseases.

Some drugs, such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, and certain heart medicines, can affect your oral health. Medications can cause you to experience dry mouth and/or excessive gum growth which can lead to oral problems.

If you are concerned that the medications you are taking may be causing you problems, contact our office.

Clenching Or Grinding Your Teeth

Has anyone ever told you that you grind your teeth at night? Is your jaw sore from clenching your teeth when you’re taking a test or solving a problem at work? Clenching or grinding your teeth can put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could speed up the rate at which these periodontal tissues are destroyed.

These habits can affect your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and cause clicking on opening or closing and may lead to muscle pain and headaches.