What Are the Causes of Gum Disease?

What Are the Causes of Gum Disease?

Posted by SmileHere Family Dental

Oral Health

on Oct 18 2022, 05:59 AM

What Are the Causes of Gum Disease?

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. It is characterized by red, puffy, and swollen gums and is reversible with professional treatment as well as daily brushing and flossing. In gingivitis, the gums become irritated and inflamed. This inflammation can be triggered by plaque buildup, genetics, hormonal changes, medications, or illnesses. In periodontitis, plaque spreads beneath the gum line. Toxins produced by bacteria irritate the gums, causing inflammation. The toxins also damage the gum tissue and the bone that support the teeth. Over time, periodontitis can cause teeth to become loose or fall out.

Here are the factors that lead to gum disease:

Poor Oral Hygiene

If you develop gum disease, you are probably missing some areas of your teeth when you brush your teeth. Bacteria feed off food debris and multiply quickly on the surface of the teeth without a regular brushing or flossing routine to prevent this from happening. This leaves your gums vulnerable to damage and disease.

Some patients may not realize that they have a problem until they are addressed about it by a dentist. If your dentist sees signs of plaque buildup on your teeth, they may recommend additional appointments for a professional cleaning to be thorough in removing the bacteria from your mouth. 


Some people inherit genes that make their mouths more vulnerable to the bacteria that cause periodontal disease. Inherited genes can predispose people to severe or mild forms of gum disease, while others make it unlikely that they will ever develop gum disease at all.

The good news is that just because your parents may have dealt with gum disease doesn't mean that you will too! But it's still a good idea to regularly visit your dentist and practice good oral hygiene habits yourself to prevent yourself from developing a painful case of gum inflammation down the road.

Other Medical Reasons

Others who are more prone to getting gum disease are people who have other health issues that may weaken their immune system and leave them more susceptible to infection. This includes people with diabetes or those who use medications that lower the body's ability to fight infections.

Hormonal Changes

The hormonal changes that women experience during pregnancy can cause inflammation in their bodies, including in the gums. During pregnancy, the body produces a higher level of progesterone and estrogen hormones than usual in preparation for birth. This can cause the gum tissue to become red, tender, swollen, or to bleed easily. Some pregnant women also notice that their gums start to recede during this time. This is a normal occurrence that can be reversed after the baby is born. However, if the inflammation continues after giving birth, it could lead to gum disease.

Smoking and Tobacco Use

Studies have shown that smoking or tobacco use can cause gum disease in a variety of ways. It causes reduced blood flow to gum tissues, which means less oxygen and fewer nutrients reach the gums. This decreases the health of the tissue and can allow bacteria to flourish. It can also increase your risk for oral cancer. Quitting smoking is your first step in improving your oral health!

If you wish to learn more about gum disease, schedule a consultation with our dental experts, call any of our offices in Livonia [at (734) 425-7888] or Ann Arbor [at (734) 888-8886] or book an appointment online. We're always happy to help our patients!

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29522 Six Mile Rd, Ste A, Livonia, MI 48152

Phone: (734) 425-7888

Email: info@smileheredental.com

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3250 Plymouth Rd, Ste 102, Ann Arbor, MI 48105

Phone: (734) 888-8886

Email: info@smileheredental.com

  • MON - TUE: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
  • WED - THU: Closed
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  • SAT: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
  • SUN: Closed
Contact Us