What Are the Causes of Gum Disease?

Posted by Dr. Ronald F. Jacob on Sep 14 2022, 05:52 AM

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is caused by a build-up of plaque and bacteria. Plaque is a sticky substance that builds up on the teeth and irritates the gums. When these irritants are not removed, they can cause infections.

A few factors that can lead to gum disease are:

Poor Oral Hygiene

One of the most common causes of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. The most common culprit is plaque, which is the bacteria that builds up in the mouth on teeth, gums, and dental appliances. Plaque causes gum disease when it builds up around your teeth and hardens into tartar.

Unhealthy Diet

While brushing and flossing are a daily necessity, they are not enough to keep gum disease at bay. The foods you eat play a huge role in the health of your gums. In fact, certain diets actually increase your risk for gum disease.


While you can't change your family's genes, you can prevent gum disease by maintaining good oral hygiene. Also, there are several other steps you can take to keep your gums healthy. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss at least once a day, use alcohol-free mouthwash, and visit your dentist for yearly checkups.

Hormonal Changes

Women going through menopause or pregnancy are more susceptible to gum disease. During menopause, the hormonal imbalance alters the way that the body responds to bacteria. The gums may break down more easily, which can lead to periodontal disease.

During pregnancy, the body releases hormones that cause ligaments to relax and the body to loosen. This can cause the gums to bleed more easily. Additionally, the mother's immune system may be weakened during pregnancy, which makes it harder to fight bacterial or fungal infections.

Tobacco Use

Smoking can drastically increase your risk for gum disease, and it's the leading cause of adult tooth loss. It reduces the flow of blood to your gum tissue, which can slow healing. It can also make the gum tissue turn red and swell. 

Smoking also causes oral cancers, which are much more common than oral cancers in nonsmokers.


Medications can cause dry mouth by altering the chemicals in your body. Medications for high blood pressure, anxiety, allergies, and depression can all cause the salivary glands to produce less saliva.


Bruxism is a common cause of gum disease. It's usually caused by stress or anxiety, but not always. Patients with bruxism grind their teeth and clench their jaw, often during sleep. The effects of bruxism include tooth loss, broken teeth, and fillings, as well as facial pain, headaches, and earaches.

Bruxism can be treated with a bite guard. This plastic device, worn at night, protects your teeth from damage.

Other Medical Conditions

There are a number of medical conditions that can affect your oral health.

Diabetes, heart disease, and obesity can all cause gum disease. This is because these conditions often affect your body's ability to control inflammation, which can contribute to gum disease.

Call Dr. Ronald F. Jacob, DMD, at (386) 445-6111 if you wish to learn more about gum disease. We are located at 17 Old King's Road N, Palm Coast, FL 32137.

Leave A Reply

Please fill all the fields.
Dr. Ronald F. Jacob, DMD

Phone: (386) 445-6111

Email: info@rjacobdmd.com


17 Old King's Road N, Palm Coast, FL 32137

Contact Us

Working Hours

  • Monday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Tuesday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Wednesday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Thursday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Friday: 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed