What Are The Causes Of Gum Disease?

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Gum disease, also referred to as periodontal disease, develops when plaque and calculus build up under the gums. Plaque is a sticky biofilm that harbors bacteria that produce toxins that irritate and infect gum tissue. Plaque forms when food particles, especially sugars, are not adequately removed from the surface of teeth.

When plaque is not removed, the gums become irritated and in amed. Over time, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets that become infected. The more inflamed the gum tissue becomes, the more likely it is that periodontal disease will progress.

Numerous risk factors cause gum disease, including:

Poor Oral Hygiene

Lack of proper oral hygiene can lead to gum disease. This disease is caused by plaque buildup on teeth and along the gum line. If plaque is not removed through proper brushing and flossing, it hardens and becomes tartar. Tartar cannot be removed by brushing and flossing, so it must be scraped o by a dental professional.

Once tartar is scraped away, the gums begin to heal. Unfortunately, tartar often forms again. This cycle can repeat itself many times, causing inflammation of the gums, tooth and bone loss, and eventual tooth loss.


Many cases of gum disease are inherited from your parents. If one or both of your parents have gum disease, you are likely to be affected by it, too. Genetics also play a role in your risk of developing gum disease. For example, some people are just born with very thin gums. This is also referred to as “thin gums” or “thin periodontal biotypes.” People with thin gums are at a higher risk of developing gum disease, especially if they brush their teeth too aggressively.

Tobacco Use

Tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, and chew, are the leading cause of gum disease. These products contain nicotine and tar, which damage the gum tissues, teeth, and bone. 21% of adults use tobacco, and smoking causes the most cases of gum disease. Smoking and tobacco use cause bad breath, dry mouth, early tooth loss, and gum recession. People who use tobacco also are at higher risk for oral cancer.

Medications and Other Factors

Medication. It’s pretty easy to take medication without thinking about how it affects the rest of your body. Unfortunately, medications like blood thinners, birth control, and antidepressants can all cause bleeding gums. Similarly, drugs like anti-anxiety medications and muscle relaxants can also contribute to dental problems.


During pregnancy, hormonal changes can affect your gums, making them more susceptible to gum disease. Fortunately, pregnancy gingivitis is temporary and usually resolves within a few weeks after pregnancy.

To find out more about the dental services offered at Zane Dental, call (763) 561-1200 or schedule an online consultation. You can also visit Dentist in Brooklyn Park, MN, at 7340 Zane Ave N, Brooklyn Park, MN 55443.

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