Also known as gum disease, periodontitis and gingivitis are bacterial infections that affect the gum tissues. Gum disease has several stages accompanied by worse symptoms as they progress. The initial stage is usually painless and might be unnoticeable due to the faint warning signs, but the final stage of gum disease can be excruciating and eventually lead to tooth loss. 

It’s essential to know the common causes of gum disease to prevent it from occurring in the first place. So let’s discuss the causes of gum disease to give you the best shot at preventing it.

What causes gum disease?

Prevention is the best policy and better than cure, and all health professionals can agree with this. And to effectively prevent periodontal disease, an individual must know its common causes. So we’ve gathered the five major causes of gum disease you should take note of to ensure you don’t develop it in the future.

1. Vaping

While vaping is seen as a better or healthier alternative to smoking, studies show that it’s just as harmful to gum health as tobacco or cigarette smoking. According to a study, people who vape daily have higher infection-causing bacteria in their mouths than those who smoke cigarettes. Researchers claim that this might be caused by the pressurized and heated liquids from vaping cartridges, which can transform the mouth into a breeding ground for bacteria.

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2. Crooked teeth

If you have crowded, overlapping, or crooked teeth, you’re suffering from more than a cosmetic issue, as you could be prone to gum disease. When the teeth are too cramped, it’s difficult to reach bacteria and plaque with tooth brushing or flossing, and if you have rotated or misaligned teeth, there could be spaces between your teeth where plaque buildup may occur. While it’s necessary to be diligent in brushing and flossing, you could benefit from using dental aligners like Invisalign if you’re struggling with flossing and brushing your teeth.

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3. Plaque

Gum disease is often caused by plaque, a thick film of bacteria that forms on teeth and gums, which can be removed by rinsing, flossing, and brushing. If you have plaque and you think that might be causing your early signs of gum disease, you’re not alone, as millions of adults are in the same situation as you. Fortunately, gum disease is preventable and reversible with healthy habits. Dental checkups and professional teeth cleaning are also key.

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4. Tobacco use

A healthy mouth has billions of balanced good and bad bacteria. However, chewing or smoking tobacco can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the mouth as this causes the bad bacteria to overtake the good, which happens evidently to people who tolerate tobacco or cigarette use. Along with the increased risk of developing periodontal disease, using tobacco often leads to:

  • Oral cancer
  • Slower healing
  • Inability to taste and smell
  • Stained teeth and tongue

5. Illnesses

Certain illnesses can affect your gum health. This includes conditions like HIV or cancer, which interfere with how the body’s immune system works. Since diabetes also disrupts the body’s ability to utilize blood sugar, patients with this condition are at increased risk of developing infections, including cavities and gum disease.