Gum Disease: Who Is At Risk?

gumdiseaseAre you at risk for gum disease? Anyone can develop gum disease. That is why we go to the dentist biannually for a checkup and cleaning, to remove plaque and tartar that can lead to gum disease. However, if you take good care of your teeth and gums, there is less of a chance you will develop periodontal disease (gum disease) unless it runs in your family.  There are certain conditions that put you at higher risk for gum disease. Who is at risk?  

Some Risk Factors

While brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash can help keep gum disease at bay, you still need to visit your dentist twice a year for a thorough and professional cleaning. Poor dental health is definitely a risk factor for periodontal disease because it is caused by bacterial plaque that hardens into tartar if not removed daily. Other risk factors include:

  • Smoking or other tobacco use: Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors when it comes to developing gum disease. Smokers present with gum disease more than any other segment of the population.
  • Hormonal fluctuations in women.
  • Illness: Diabetics, people with HIV/AIDS, and those on certain medications are at higher risk of gum disease.
  • Genetics: Gum disease can run in families.
  • High sugar intake: Those who eat foods and drink beverages that are high in sugar. Sugar attracts harmful bacteria that produce acids that can irritate your gums leading to gingivitis and periodontitis (the early and late stages of gum disease, respectively).