What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene that allows bacteria to remain on the teeth, irritating and infecting surrounding gum tissue. Plaque is a form of bacteria that sticks to the surfaces of your teeth, and calculus (tartar) is dental plaque that has hardened with minerals in the saliva and gum tissue fluid. By brushing and flossing twice daily, most patients can control the buildup of plaque for weeks and possibly even a few months. However, within about three months, even the most diligent oral care can't prevent the development of plaque along the gum line and between your teeth. If plaque is allowed to harden to calculus, it unfortunately cannot be removed by brushing and flossing - even with good oral hygiene, tartar is likely to build up within six months. This is why regular preventative teeth cleaning in a dental office is so important for every patient. We'll remove tartar and plaque during your routine dental cleaning, while also smoothing and polishing your teeth so plaque development is minimized.
In addition to dental plaque and tartar, there are other factors that increase your risk of developing gum disease. Some of the most common risk factors for periodontitis include tobacco use, diabetes, crowded teeth, hormonal changes, a diet high in sugar and other simple carbohydrates, cancer treatment, some medications, stress, and excessive mouth breathing.