What Causes Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is something that people are beginning to get familiar with. It can be a bit a scary disease as it effects the most important parts of your teeth, but there are ways to prevent it. All you need to do is learn about what causes it and take the proper steps to prevent it. In this article, we will discuss the question, “what causes periodontal disease?”

What Is Periodontal Disease?

When your gums are swollen and bleeding, it is a sign that they have become infected with bacteria. If you let this bacterial infection go untreated for a long time, this infection can easily spread. This infection can ruin the durable structures that support your teeth in the bone of your jaw. Eventually, your teeth may get loose and need to be pulled.

The word periodontal can be broken down into two parts: “peri” means around, while “odontal” means teeth. Periodontal diseases are diseases that have infections around the structures that form around the teeth. This can include your gum, the periodontal ligament, the cementum over the root and the jaw bone.

In the earlier stages of periodontal disease, which is called gingivitis, the infection can affect the gums. With more serious forms of the disease, the periodontal disease can affect all of the tissues that support the teeth.

Many doctors have been trying to figure out what exactly causes this, and a new answer has been recently accepted: periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in plaque that ruins your teeth. Gum disease has been shown to have links to other health issues. For instance, there are possible connections between gum disease and the following conditions:

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria that are found in plaque. Plaque is the substance that is sticky and forms on your teeth almost immediately after you have brushed them. When your body tries to get rid of your bacteria, your immune system will cause the gums to inflame. This can damage the gums, jawbone or the periodontal ligament.

This can lead to gingivitis which is the first stage of the periodontal disease. Symptoms include bleeding gums, swelling and redness. The damage from periodontal disease can also cause teeth to become loose in its advanced stage.

You can prevent periodontal disease by engaging in good oral hygiene and going to see your dentist on a regular basis. It is recommended that most people see their dentists once every six months, but if you experience periodontal disease, you should go more often than that.

Brushing and flossing your teeth daily can help remove most of the plaque. When done in conjunction with regular dental cleaning, you can also keep plaque under control. This can help stop periodontal disease in its tracks.

It is the buildup of this plaque at the gum line that makes it easy to get periodontal disease. This is because it causes the gums to become inflamed. Eventually, it will spread and cause the gums to detach from the tooth. This will create a pocket between the two. Bacteria gets caught in these pockets and makes plaque buildup even moreso.

Over time, it can become hardened and turn into calculus, also known as tartar. More and more plaque will attach to it because it is harder than enamel which just worsens the condition of your periodontal disease.

Other Causes of Periodontal Disease

There are a few things that you can do to understand what other risks put you in danger of periodontal disease alongside plaque. These are:


Some people can get periodontal disease easier than others because of your genes. That said, the way you are born does not mean that this disease is bound to happen no matter what. You can still prevent or control the disease by practicing good oral hygiene.

Smoking and the use of tobacco

If you have this disease, smoking or chewing tobacco will only make it worse. Smoking is one of the biggest reasons that periodontal disease is resistant to treatment. Smokers often get more tartar on their teeth and are likely to lose more bone as the disease worsens. Quitting can help your periodontal health.

Grinding or clenching your teeth

These habits will not cause the disease necessarily, but they can certainly make it worse. This is especially true if you already have inflamed gums. These habits put more force on the teeth than necessary which can apply pressure to the gums. This can indeed speed up the development of periodontal disease. You can learn to stop this bad habit by being conscious of when you are doing it and then relaxing your mouth. Your dentist can also make a custom guard that can help prevent the damage that comes from it.


Additional Risks Associated with Periodontal Disease

Apart from the effects mentioned earlier, periodontal disease can indirectly affect the body in other ways. Below is a look at some of the health risks associated with periodontal disease.


Gum disease can increase the chance that you will have a stroke that is caused by blockage in the arteries.

Heart disease

Gum disease can increase the chance that you might get clogged arteries and heart disease. It can also be believed to make any heart disease that already exists to be worse.

Premature birth

If a woman has periodontal disease while she is pregnant, it is more likely that she will be giving birth to her baby before it is due. As a result, the baby may be of a lower birth weight than expected.

Respiratory disease

Bacteria that are involved in periodontal disease may cause an infection in the lungs. It can also make worse any lung conditions that currently exist. This is an important thing to consider for elderly people that are in nursing homes because the bacteria can get into the lungs and cause severe pneumonia


In this article, we have given the answer to the question “what causes periodontal disease?” Do you or someone you know have this disease? Have you been treated for it? Tell us about your experience with oral disease in the comments section below.


Leave a Comment