Periodontal Disease: 5 Risk Factors You Should Know

February 8, 2022

Do you know that 3.84% of adults ages 20-34 have periodontal (or gum) disease that the percentage from ages 50-64 increases to 11.88%?

Untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss, jawbone damage, and even severe infections elsewhere in the body.

Do you know that periodontal disease is entirely preventable? Yes, that’s right. Good oral care and regular dental visits might keep periodontal disease from occurring in the first place.

Watch for early signs of periodontal disease such as swollen or bleeding gums, bad breath, painful chewing, and loose teeth or tooth loss. Now, read about who is at risk for periodontal disease.

1. Genetics

For over a century, medical and dental professionals have suspected family history as one of the risk factors for periodontal disease. We know that people’s genetic make-up can cause or influence conditions in the body.

The relationship between genetics and periodontal disease is complicated. Specific genetic profiles might predispose people to some of the conditions discussed below.

2. Presence of Other Diseases

Co-occurring diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis can worsen the condition of the gums.

There is comorbidity even among these conditions. For example, anyone who suffers from one of them is also likely to have some degree of compromised immunity.

Moreover, a 2014 study from the UK reveals that some commonly prescribed medications can lead to or exacerbate periodontal disease.

3. Stress

In the early 2000s, several published research studies showed a 57% correlation between stress and periodontal disease. Although still uncertain, researchers continue to speculate about possible causes for the linkage.

One is the body’s production of cortisol, which the body produces in generous amounts when stressed. Another, perhaps more straightforward reason is that stress might lead to neglect of dental care routines.

4. Smoking

Periodontal disease occurrence is 4.9% for people who have never smoked, 10.5% for those who quit smoking, and a whopping15.6 % for those who currently smoke.

Researchers hypothesize that the tobacco-periodontal disease connection might be the lower amount of oxygen in the smoker’s mouth and a weakened immune response.

5. Poor Nutrition

A diet that’s low in essential nutrients can weaken the body’s immune response, making it harder to fight infection. Since periodontal disease often starts as an infection, a poor diet can make the condition of your gums even worse.

Obesity can also be a factor in periodontal disease. And since poor nutrition and obesity tend to affect less affluent communities and neighborhoods, periodontal disease is, sadly, a common concern in these areas.

We encourage you to learn more from your dental care professionals about periodontal disease and how to prevent or manage it.

The Verdict on Periodontal Disease: Take Good Care of Your Gums

It seems clear that some causes of periodontal disease are preventable while others are not. In either case, though, good care for your teeth and gums can make quite a difference in gum health.

Know how to prevent periodontal disease, or at least keep it in check. Doing so is the best way to save your gums, jaw, and other parts of your body from this disease’s harmful effects.

That’s why, even if you develop periodontal disease later in life, you should maintain a meticulous and regular oral care routine.

We have many more articles on medical and dental concerns, so keep checking our site for the latest on staying healthy in C21.

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