Periodontal disease is a serious disease which destroys teeth supporting bone and gum tissues. Teeth are supported by the gums, or gingiva and bone. A tooth’s root is affixed to the bone within its socket by fibers called periodontal ligaments. Gums are not cement attached to the teeth. A shallow, V-shaped gap called a sulcus exists between the teeth and the gums. Periodontal disease affects this gap to widen it. Eventually, in periodontal disease, the tissues supporting the tooth break down. If only the apparent gums are involved in this breakdown, the disease is referred to as gingivitis. If it is more advanced and involves the connecting tissues and bone, then it is called periodontitis.
The main cause of periodontal (gum) disease is plaque, but other factors affect the health of your gums.
Older people have the highest rates of periodontal disease.
Tobacco users also are at increased risk for periodontal disease. Tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease.
Research has indicated that some people may be genetically susceptible to gum disease. Despite aggressive oral care habits, these people may be more likely to develop periodontal disease.
Stress also is a risk factor for periodontal disease. Research demonstrates that stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection, including periodontal diseases.
Some drugs, such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, and certain heart medicines, can affect your oral health.
Hormonal changes may also result in periodontal disease, such as those related to pregnancy or menopause
Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth
Clenching or grinding your teeth can put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could speed up the rate at which these periodontal tissues are destroyed.
Other Systemic Diseases
Other systemic diseases that interfere with the body’s inflammatory system may worsen the condition of the gums. These include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Poor Nutrition and Obesity
Because periodontal disease begins as an infection, poor nutrition can worsen the condition of your gums. In addition, research has shown that obesity may increase the risk of periodontal disease.