Font Size
A
A
A
2
...

Periodontal (Gum) Disease (cont.)

Periodontal (Gum) Disease Causes

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that clings to the surface of teeth and gums. Brushing and flossing every day may not completely remove all the plaque, especially around the gum line. The bacteria in the plaque produce toxins that may injure the gums and supporting tissues.

Plaque that is not completely removed within 48 hours hardens into a rough deposit called tartar or calculus. Once tartar develops, the only way to remove it is by having the teeth professionally cleaned. Tartar below the gum line causes inflammation and infection. Because this process is often painless, a person may be unaware a problem exists.

Causes or factors that worsen gum disease include the following:

  • Because of a dulled immune response and less oxygen in the mouth, smokers are 2 to 7 times more likely to develop periodontitis than nonsmokers.
  • Diabetes worsens periodontal disease. If a person's blood sugar level is poorly controlled, a worse infection, poor healing, and a greater loss of bone and connective tissue are likely.
  • Sjögren's syndrome with it's decreased saliva production can lead to periodontal disease.
  • Stress increases certain hormones that make a person more susceptible to infection. Pregnancy and birth control pills can also increase hormone levels.
  • Steroids, antiseizure medicines, cancer medicines, and blood pressure medicines can all affect the gums. Some drugs decrease the flow of saliva, irritating the mouth and making it prone to infection.
Author:
Coauthor:

Must Read Articles Related to Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Bad Breath (Halitosis) Bad breath (halitosis) can be caused by a variety of things including diet, medication, poor oral hygiene, and diseases or conditions such as diabetes, GERD, la...learn more >>
Dental Abscess
Dental Abscess Bacteria from a tooth cavity can cause a dental abscess, or infection of the mouth, jaw or face. Symptoms include pain, swelling, facial redness, gum inflammati...learn more >>
Gingivitis
Gingivitis Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums surrounding the teeth. Gingivitis is caused by a bacterial infection of the gums. Symptoms may include pain, redness, ...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Periodontal (Gum) Disease:

Periodontal (Gum) Disease - Treatment

What treatment did you have for periodontal disease?

Periodontal (Gum) Disease - Experience

Please describe your experience with periodontal (gum) disease.





Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Bacterial Mouth Infections »

The oral cavity contains some of the most varied and vast flora in the entire human body and is the main entrance for 2 systems vital to human function and physiology, the gastrointestinal and respiratory systems.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary