What Are the Causes of Gum Disease?

What Are the Causes of Gum Disease?

Posted by CASCADE ADMIN on Sep 12 2022, 05:52 AM

Gum disease is an oral infection that starts off as plaque buildup. Plaque, a sticky film, continuously accumulates on teeth and sets the stage for bacteria to grow and infect soft tissues.

Gum disease is a progressive condition that begins as gingivitis, then later turns into periodontitis. Once periodontitis develops, the inner layer of the gum separates from the teeth and forms pockets, which collect debris and bacteria. The pockets deepen and grow, causing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.

The risk factors leading to gum disease include:

Poor Hygiene

Plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth can cause gum disease. When you do not brush or floss properly, it may lead to the buildup of plaque and tartar, putting your oral health at risk of oral issues.


Smoking is a major contributor to gum disease. Smoking can lower the blood supply in the mouth, which causes the gums to become inflamed and more prone to infection. It also causes dry mouth, which makes it easier for bacteria to thrive.


Your genetics can play a large role in your likelihood of developing gum disease. In fact, your genetics can also impact how severe your gum disease is.

For example, if your parents have gum disease, your chances of developing it are much higher. Likewise, if your parents have healthy gums, your chances of developing gum disease are lower.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes can cause slight gum sensitivity. Many women experience this while they are pregnant, breastfeeding, or utilizing birth control pills.

Hormonal changes can also cause gum disease. It can cause an inflammatory response in the body, which can lead to swelling and bleeding gums. The risk of gum disease increases for women in menopause due to the change in hormones.

If hormonal changes lead to gum disease, it should be treated as soon as possible so that it doesn’t progress. However, if gum disease is present before a woman gets pregnant, it should not cause any issues during her pregnancy.


Many medications can contribute to gum disease, including over-the-counter pills like ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen, as well as prescription painkillers.

Most of these medications work by suppressing the immune system, which makes it easier for bacteria to grow in the mouth. Additionally, they may cause dry mouth, which can further contribute to tooth decay and infection.


Pregnancy causes hormonal changes that put you at an increased risk for periodontal disease. In addition, hormonal changes increase your risk for pregnancy gingivitis. This form of gingivitis usually appears during the third trimester.

Other Health Conditions

Other health conditions, such as diabetes, can increase your risk of gum disease. If you have one of these conditions, it’s important to follow your treatment plan and alert your dentist to any changes in your health status.

Poor Diet & Nutrition

Your diet can have a big impact on the health of your gums, as it can increase your risk of gum inflammation. Eating foods that contain a lot of sugar can increase your risk of tooth decay and cavities, which can, in turn, increase your risk of gum disease. Even healthy foods, such as fruits, can increase your chances of developing gingivitis.

If you’re concerned about your risk of gum disease, visit your dentist for an exam.

Grinding Teeth

Grinding your teeth can cause gum disease. That’s because grinding wears down the enamel on your teeth, exposing the inner dentin. The inner dentin layer is more yellow and vulnerable to staining. Plus, it’s softer. This makes your teeth more vulnerable to decay.

If you are looking for gum disease treatment options, schedule a consultation with Cascade Family Dental. We are located at 925 Corporate Center Pkwy., Suite-G, Santa Rosa, CA 95407. Contact us at (707) 635-6565 or visit our website to book an appointment. 

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