What causes periodontal disease?

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Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection.

Your mouth is always full of bacteria. Normally, these bacteria are mostly harmless. However, they can mix with saliva and particles of food and cling to your teeth in the form of sticky plaque. When plaque builds up at or beneath the gum line, the stage is set for gum disease.

Plaque build-up happens when you don’t brush or floss on a regular basis or when you don’t visit us for routine cleanings. If plaque stays on your teeth, it hardens into tartar (calculus), and tartar can only be removed using professional tools.

Periodontal disease also has a genetic component – if your parents have periodontal disease, then you are more likely to develop it as well. Your family’s dental history is important information that can help us better tailor your treatment and care plan, so talk to your family members about their dental health.

A run-down, overworked immune system can also be a contributing factor to gum disease. If your immune system is overworked, you will have difficulty fighting off bacterial and viral infections. You might notice that you develop more colds, but you may not realize that you are also leaving yourself open to periodontal disease. Boost your immune system by eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and plenty of sleep, and learning healthy ways to cope with stress.

 

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