Periodontal Disease Risk Factors and Treatment

Periodontal Disease Risk Factors and Treatment

Posted by Dr. Shirley Zao on May 18 2022, 05:36 AM

Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in the mouth that infect the gums. The bacterial infection causes inflammation in the gum tissue, which leads to the gums pulling away from the teeth. As the gums pull away, pockets begin to form between the teeth and gums, which become the perfect home for bacteria to grow.

Risk Factors that Can Cause Periodontal Disease

Tobacco use

Tobacco use is a risk factor for many diseases. In addition to having a negative impact on oral health, tobacco use is linked to heart disease, stroke, and lung disease.

Smoking causes damage to gum tissue by causing blood vessels to narrow and limiting the flow of oxygen and nutrients. Since tobacco use is a risk factor for heart disease, patients with heart disease are at a higher risk of developing periodontal disease.


Your genetics can play a part in your risk for gum disease. If you have a parent or sibling who has gum disease, you are more likely to develop it yourself. You may also have a greater risk for periodontal disease if other family members have had heart problems, strokes, or diabetes.

Systemic diseases

Systemic diseases, including diabetes, cancer, and HIV, can all affect your oral health. These diseases can interfere with your body’s ability to fight off infection, including periodontal disease. It’s important to let your dentist know if any of these diseases affect you.


Some medications can increase your risk of periodontal disease. For example, drugs can reduce the flow of saliva, which is a critical component of your oral health. This can cause dry mouth, which in turn increases your risk of tooth decay and bad breath. A dry mouth can also increase your risk of gum disease.

Hormonal changes

Some women notice red, irritated gums when they go through hormonal changes. This irritation is likely to be related to hormonal changes, not a periodontal disease. 

Women going through menopause may lose teeth to periodontal disease because hormonal changes affect bone density. They are also likely to experience dry mouth, which can lead to cavities.

Treating periodontal disease

Surgical treatment of periodontal disease

Surgical treatment of a periodontal disease may be necessary when gum disease is very advanced. In severe cases of periodontal disease, the gums may have pulled away from the teeth, or a tooth may have become loose because of advanced decay. In these situations, a pocket reduction procedure may enable the gums to heal properly. 

Non-surgical treatment of periodontal disease

Scaling and root planing is a non-surgical treatment that removes the plaque and tartar buildup below the gumline, smoothing root surfaces and allowing the gum tissue to heal. Scaling and root planing is often considered the gold standard in the non-surgical treatment of periodontal disease.

If you’d like to know more about periodontal disease and treatment options, call (925) 847-8790 to schedule an appointment. You can also directly visit us at 5720 Stoneridge Mall Rd #200, Pleasanton, CA 94588 for all your dental health concerns.

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