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What Causes Gum Disease?


Periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, is an infection of the gum tissue in your mouth. The infection is caused by bacteria that get into the tiny pores and fissures in your gums. This usually occurs when bacteria becomes overpopulated in your mouth and clings to your teeth in the form of plaque. That’s what causes gum disease, but let’s get to the root of the problem so that you’ll know how to cure and prevent it. 

Common Causes of Gum Disease

Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums. But what causes the bacteria in your mouth to infect the gums in the first place? Here are some of the most common reasons. 

  • Not effectively brushing your teeth. Most people brush their teeth at least once a day, but twice a day is recommended. If you’re not brushing your teeth often enough, plaque will form on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky substance composed of leftover food residue and bacteria that clings to the surface of your teeth. Brushing your teeth will remove it, but if you don’t brush effectively you may not remove all of it. It is necessary to carefully brush your teeth each time, taking care to brush along the gum line to remove the plaque that settles there. 
  • Not flossing. Flossing is another important part of dental hygiene. The process of flossing removes the plaque that forms between your teeth and in the pockets between your teeth and your gums. When you don’t floss you are leaving your gums susceptible to gum disease that forms in the places you can’t reach with your toothbrush. If you don’t like flossing, consider getting a waterpik to clean the areas between your teeth. 
  • Uneven surface of the roots of your teeth. Sometimes the surface of the root of your teeth will be uneven or have little pockets where bacteria can get in between the gums and the tooth root. This is a common cause of gum disease, but it can be remedied with a procedure called root planing. Root planing smooths out the surface of your tooth root so that the gum tissue can form a solid bond to keep bacteria out. 
  • Sugary diet. A diet that is high in sugar can cause gum disease. If you consume sugary foods and beverages on a regular basis throughout your day, you are increasing the chances of developing gum disease. The excess sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth which can cause them to become overpopulated. Sugar is also very sticky, which causes the bacteria to stick to the teeth and gums, thus increasing the chance of infection. 
  • Diabetes. If you have diabetes you are likely to have more sugar in your saliva than someone who does not. This is especially true if your diabetes is not well managed. Diabetes can cause gum disease for the same reason a sugary diet can. 
  • Medications that cause dry mouth. Some medications are known to impede saliva production and cause dry mouth. Saliva has natural bacteria fighting properties and it helps to rinse the bacteria off of the teeth. When there is less saliva in your mouth than there should be, the bacteria can get overpopulated and cling to your teeth, potentially causing gum disease. 
  • Hormones. Hormonal changes can cause gum disease, especially in women. Two of the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, can cause an increase in blood flow to your gums that makes them more sensitive and susceptible to infection. This is why pregnant women are at an increased risk of gum disease. 

Attleboro Family Dental Care Can Treat and Prevent Gum Disease 

Do your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth? Do they appear red or swollen? These are early warning signs that you may have gum disease, or gingivitis, the early form of gum disease. Attleboro Family Dental Care can treat your gum disease and take steps to help you prevent it. Visiting us every 6 months for cleanings and exams can help keep your teeth and gums healthy. 

Call Attleboro Family Dental Care at 508-222-2510 to make an appointment. We look forward to helping you maintain excellent oral health.