How do you get periodontal disease? Our Top 10 Risk Factors

  1. Plaque – when it no longer can be easily removed and so resides instead

Bacteria and saliva form plaque. Acids in plaque (released during eating and drinking) attack teeth whilst the bacteria present irritates the gums. Practising the highest standard of oral hygiene at home is vital for all of us to defend both our gums and our teeth against plaque build-up which can harden if not removed creating tartar. Tartar cannot normally be removed by yourself and so requires professional teeth cleaning appointment(s) with a dental hygienist to remove it successfully. 

  1. Time – periodontal disease is a progressive gum condition

Periodontal disease worsens over time. Originally healthy gums can move through stages from normal presentation to gingivitis (initial bacterial infection of the gums), to mild periodontitis (sensitivity, inflammation and the start of receding gums) to moderate periodontitis (where the bacteria has reached the tooth root and tooth loss is likely to occur). Act fast to book an appointment if concerned – please do not wait for gums to bleed, feel sore or for it to become painful to chew at meal-times. 

  1. Mis-understanding of the highest standards of oral hygiene practice 

Treasure gums as you treasure teeth – as together they can safeguard your smile and your oral health for a lifetime. Give them the attention they deserve by adopting the highest standards of oral hygiene at home. Best practice is more than simply brushing your teeth but incorporates the use of flossing and/or the use of interdental brushes to reach the more vulnerable but hard-to-reach spaces. It is these areas where a build-up of plaque and tartar can soon become overwhelming offering bacteria the chance to irritate gums. 

  1. A family history of gum disease which means you may develop it too 

This is why when you register with us as a new patient, completing our questionnaire for us in as much detail as possible is crucial. When we have all the information we need on your general medical and dental conditions we can be best placed to help you achieve the optimal clinical outcome if you are diagnosed with periodontal disease, for example. 

  1. Lifestyle choices which could make periodontal disease more complex 

Choosing to smoke or chew tobacco can increase your risk and it can make it harder for your dentist to spot it early, treat it early and help you prevent its re-occurrence promptly. Signs of gum disease like bad breath (halitosis) could be masked by this lifestyle choice plus with less oxygen in your bloodstream due to smoking, any sore or infected gums may take longer to heal. 

  1. A vulnerability during pregnancy

Research shows that periodontal disease can increase the risk of pre-term birth and can result in a lower birth weight so it is vital to seek periodontal disease treatment to minimise such risks to baby. 

  1. A weakened immune system

Periodontal disease leads to gum inflammation when the bacterium levels naturally present in the mouth are left unchecked by the immune system. Diabetes or HIV/AIDS can mean that periodontal disease, if it develops, can become a more severe infection for you – if you are affected by such conditions. 

  1. Taking certain prescribed medications

Certain immunosuppressive drugs (if you are a transplant patient for example) or undergoing chemotherapy to treat cancer, can mean that your risk of developing periodontal disease is also much higher. 

  1. Potential dental shame if you are suffering from periodontal disease 

At Wimpole Street Dental Clinic, we just look for the opportunity to examine, diagnose and recommend. We seek to help you restore both your personal mouth comfort and so confidence – without judgement. We offer the highest standards of modern dentistry, dental hygiene, patient safety and bespoke care from every member of our expert team to every member of our valued patient community – regardless of dental disease, gum condition or the severity of its presentation. 

  1. Potential dental phobia due to the nature of periodontal disease 

Anxiety, nerves and even dental phobia could be preventing you from seeking, consenting to and receiving the oral health care you may desperately need. We are especially committed to helping our nervous patients access all the information they need and ask all the questions they would like to, whenever we discuss and then look to agree a recommended treatment approach. With periodontal disease, especially at the moderate stage of the condition, gums can start to bleed from inflammation which can be alarming. Trust your dentist and your dental hygienist to perform all the treatments you need as deftly, expertly and as painlessly as possible.

Scroll to Top