It starts with bacteria that is deposited on the teeth in the form of plaque. If there is not proper flossing and brushing, the plaque will eventually turn into calculus, commonly referred to as tartar. This will cause the gums to swell and the inflammation will lead to spaces between gums and teeth called “pockets” that can lead to teeth loosening. Data shows that gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss.
The milder form of periodontitis is gingivitis. At this stage, the gums are swollen and can bleed easily but they can heal with proper flossing and brushing. No extended treatment will be required. Taking better care of your oral hygiene will reverse the issue and keep you away from potential complications. If left untreated, gingivitis will lead to more severe gum problems like periodontitis or advanced periodontitis.
Here are some other factors that may influence the disease and increase the risk of developing it or treating it:
- Smoking: People who smoke tend to collect more bacteria so if you’re a smoker, then the chances for you to develop gum disease are pretty high;
- Clenching and Grinding: these habits place more stress on the supporting bone and gums around the teeth, leading to recession and bone loss;
- Genetics: You can be more prone to developing gum disease due to your genes;
- Hormones: Puberty, pregnancy, or menopause may affect women’s gums;
- Certain conditions: People suffering from other diseases such as diabetes or inflammatory conditions are more likely to have gum problems;
- Medicine: There are certain medications such as antidepressants who affect the quantity of saliva produced which interferes with preventing plaque from sticking to teeth;
- Stress: Because stress can lead to a weak immune system, you’ll be less protected against bacteria; also, once developed, periodontal disease will be harder to treat.