6 Risk Factors & Habits That Leads To Periodontal Diseases

6 Risk Factors & Habits That Leads To Periodontal Diseases

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a result of an infection of the tissues holding our teeth in place. It is typically caused by poor dental habits, such as poor flossing and brushing habits, resulting in the development of plaque building up on the surface of our teeth.

This leads to the gums getting inflamed and swelling up, resulting in bleeding. If left untreated, the inflammation can spread to the bones around the gums, causing pain when chewing and in severe cases, loose teeth or eventual loss of teeth.

In this post, we will explore six risk factors and habits that can lead to periodontal disease.

1. Poor nutrition, chronic illness, and high stress

A combination of all three factors can cause a depressed immune system, reducing the body’s ability to fight infection, which then increases our risk of developing periodontal disease.

When we are under stress, our body produces cortisol, which is a hormone that suppresses the ability of our immune system to respond to infections. In fact, more often than not, stress leads to poor dental habits, such as neglecting consistent flossing and brushing. It can also lead to constant snacking and bingeing, which actually provides more food sources for the plaque bacteria, causing the production of cavity-causing acids. TMJ pain and teeth grinding are also usually aggravated by stress, which leads to the excessive loading of our teeth and gum, leading to periodontal damage.

The lack of vital nutrients, especially vitamin C, can result in the impairment of our immune system’s response towards infections. Additionally, the lack of vitamin D and calcium weakens the bones supporting our teeth and increases their risk of developing periodontal damage.

2. Medications

Medications administered for the treatment of common colds, allergies, depression, severe pain, high blood pressure, and cancer can impact our dental health negatively. This is why your dentist or orthodontist should be kept aware of the medications you are currently taking. There are some oral side effects that medications can cause, such as dry mouth, fungal infections, gum swelling, mucositis, ulcers, and tooth decay.

3. Diabetes

A diabetic individual has a much higher risk of developing destructive periodontal disease with bone loss. Additionally, they may experience an increased risk of developing other oral complications, such as dry mouth and cavities.

Our mouth produces saliva, which protects our mouth against bacteria, food, and dry mouth. When an individual has diabetes, their body produces less saliva, meaning less protection. Being diabetic also means there is an increased amount of sugar in their saliva, which promotes the growth of bacteria and plaque. This is why dental care and diabetes control go hand-in-hand.

4. Genetics

Studies have suggested that periodontal disease is influenced by our genes, making some people more susceptible to developing periodontal disease as compared to others. Such genetic dispositions could include increased susceptibility to inflammation, weakened immune response, loss of connective tissue integrity, enzyme dysfunction, disordered bone metabolism, and abnormal salivary composition.

5. Smoking

Smoking weakens our body’s immune system, making it harder to fight off gum infections. If your gum is already damaged, smoking will only make it harder for them to heal. A heavy smoker has twice as much risk as a non-smoker of developing periodontal disease. The more cigarettes and the longer you smoke, the higher your risk of developing periodontal disease. Unless you quit smoking, orthodontic and dental treatment will not be as effective.

6. Poor oral hygiene

Poor oral hygiene is one of the leading causes of periodontal disease. Inadequate or poor oral hygiene leads to the accumulation of plaque. When we do not floss or brush our teeth properly, plaque forms, eventually hardening into tartar. These two formations are ideal environments for periodontal disease-causing bacteria to thrive, causing gingivitis.

Gingivitis can be characterised by bleeding, swelling, and redness of the gums. It is still reversible with professional dental care and proper oral hygiene. If left untreated, it typically develops to the next stage, which is periodontal disease. When that happens, the destruction is often irreversible, damaging your alveolar bone and periodontal ligament.

The ill-effects of periodontal disease are not limited to just our mouth. In fact, severe periodontal disease is associated with other health conditions, such as adverse pregnancy outcomes, respiratory infections, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Hence, it is vital that we maintain good oral habits.


What we do with our lives affects our overall well-being. In order to maintain good oral health and prevent periodontal disease, we need to observe good dental habits. That means brushing and flossing our teeth correctly at least twice a day, not smoking, having a well-balanced diet, managing our stress, and scheduling regular dentist visits.

Here at BigSmile Dental Clinic, we understand the importance of having good dental health and hygiene. With various orthodontic services, such as invisible braces, we help you achieve straighter, healthier, and more beautiful teeth so that you can maintain your oral hygiene effortlessly and confidently. Visit us to make an appointment!