Gum (Periodontal) Disease

Frequently Asked Questions

8. What are the risk factors for gum disease?

There are a number of risk factors that can increase your chances of developing periodontal disease.

  • Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors associated with the development of gum disease and can even lower the chances for successful treatment.
  • Hormonal changes in women can make gums more sensitive and make it easier for gingivitis to develop.
  • Diabetes puts people at higher risk for developing infections, including gum disease.
  • Diseases like cancer or AIDS and their treatments can also affect the health of gums.
  • There are hundreds of prescription and over-the-counter medications that can reduce the flow of saliva, which has a protective effect on the mouth. Without enough saliva, the mouth is vulnerable to infections such as gum disease. And some medicines can cause abnormal overgrowth of the gum tissue; this can make it difficult to keep teeth and gums clean.
  • Some people are more prone to severe gum disease because of their genetic makeup.