Risk Factors for Gum Disease

Plaque bacteria is the most common cause of gum disease. If the colorless, thick film isn’t regularly removed through brushing and flossing, it will use the foods and drinks you consume to produce acids that irritate the gums and eat away at the surface of tooth enamel. Eventually the bacterial toxins will start to attack the fibers and connective tissues holding your teeth in place.

The continued presence of plaque on your teeth and gums may also cause your gums to move away from your teeth, creating small pockets where even more plaque can accumulate. Thankfully, gum disease resulting from plaque buildup is easily preventable with a good oral routine, regular dental cleanings, and fluoride treatments. Let’s look at some other common causes of gum disease you should guard against.

Crooked Teeth

It’s often challenging to clean crooked teeth fully because of the many nooks and crannies they create. For individuals with teeth that are too crowded, flossing may present a challenge, and if you have teeth that overlap, the likelihood of trapping food and debris in the crannies that a toothbrush cannot reach increases.

This allows plaque to build up and release bacteria that infects the gum tissues, eventually causing irreversible damage to the supporting structures of the teeth. Orthodontic treatments like SureSmile aligners will not only give you that straight smile you’ve always wanted, but they’ll also keep you free of gingivitis.

Certain Medications

In the broader scheme of things, we take medicine to make us feel better. But what we should also be aware of is the many side effects any drug (whether prescription or over-the-counter) comes with. Medicines like antacids, decongestants, and antihistamines can cause dry mouth and irritate the soft tissues in your mouth, which may lead to gum inflammation and heighten your risk for infection. To guard against gum disease due to certain medications, tell your dentist about all the drugs you’re taking and any resulting side effects you’ve noticed.

Damaged or Misfitting Dental Restorations

Damaged or poorly fitting crowns, bridges, or other dental restorations may irritate your gums and attract plaque that can be difficult to remove during daily oral care. You can experience gum irritation in cases where the dental restoration material ends just above the gums and rubs on them whenever your mouth moves.

Gum irritation puts you at a greater risk of developing periodontal disease, especially if you don’t maintain a regular oral routine. The best way to prevent gum disease due to poorly fitting dental restorations is to consult your dentist when you experience gum irritation. If the restoration is more than 10 years old and gum recession is present, your dentist may recommend replacing it.


Clenching or grinding your teeth can exert excessive force on the gums, deepening gum pockets and loosening teeth as well as significantly damaging the connective tissues and jawbone. If you already have gum disease, this destruction of healthy gum tissue will also speed up the rate at which the infection spreads to other parts of your mouth. A common treatment for bruxism involves getting a custom-fit nightguard to stop nighttime teeth grinding.

Poor Diet

Although poor nutrition does not cause periodontal disease directly, when your diet lacks certain nutrients, it becomes more difficult for tissues in your mouth to resist infection. Health professionals recommend eating a well-balanced diet that includes moderation and variety.

Try and make sure at least two of the meals you eat daily are from the five major food groups: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and dairy. Remember to also drink lots of water to maintain a moist mouth, neutralize any acids from plaque bacteria, and wash away any leftover food particles.

Gum Disease Treatment (and Where to Get It in Granite City, IL)

Plaque bacteria is the bad guy when it comes to gum disease. You’re probably already aware of this because you spend two minutes twice a day trying to prevent this colorless film from accumulating. Sometimes plaque can build up despite a solid oral routine, and that’s why dental professionals recommend scheduling at least two dental checkups every year.

Our dentist at Metro East Dental has access to a variety of tools that help spot gum disease in its early stages when the damage is reversible. If the condition has progressed into periodontitis, we offer effective dental cleaning procedures such as scaling and root planing to treat the infection and halt the progression of the disease. Take the first step in the treatment process and book your visit to our Granite City, IL, practice today!