More than Plaque: Risk Factors for Gum Disease

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Inflamed upper gums of a young womanUntreated gum disease causes more than red gums and bad breath. It can also result in tooth loss, as well as increase your risk for other serious conditions such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Research, furthermore, suggests that it is also associated with lung disease and low-birth weight in babies for pregnant women.

Proper dental care is often enough to reverse the symptom of gingivitis or early stage of gum disease. It is also important to know the risk factors that can affect the health of your gums. This is to prevent the said condition and stop it from getting worse.


Family dentists in Sugarhouse, Walker Pediatric Dentistry, note that high levels of stress are associated with hypertension, asthma, diabetes, as well as gum disease. Studies suggest that stress affects the body’s immune system, compromising its ability to fight infection and bacteria, which includes periodontal disease.

Smoking or Tobacco Use

Experts suggest the smoking or tobacco use can make the disease worse, as the habit causes you to have more dental plaque. This can contribute to periodontal disease. Smoking, furthermore, negatively affects the gum health, as it causes reduced oxygen in the bloodstream, slowing the healing of inflamed gums.

Systemic Diseases

Poorly managed diabetes compromises wound and infection healing (including the gums), which makes treatment of the said condition challenging. This is why gum disease treatment may help manage your diabetes. Other systemic diseases that affect your inflammatory system like rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease may also affect your gum health.

Age and Gender

As you age, your risk of developing gum disease increases. Research notes older individuals have the highest rates of developing gum disease. Women also have heightened risk because the fluctuations in hormones that can affect the gum tissues.

Certain Medications

Some drugs such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, and medicines for heart conditions can compromise your oral health. Talk to your dentist and physician about the medications you are taking, especially if you are experiencing gum or oral health problem.

Apart from the things mentioned above, a poor diet can also your affect immune and system and make it harder for the body to fight infection, including gum disease. It is important to improve your diet, as well as your dental hygiene. Visiting your dentist twice a year is also important for regular checkups and cleanings.

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