Plaque is the primary cause of periodontal disease. However, other factors can contribute to gum disease. These include:

  • A family history of dental disease
  • Bad habits such as smoking, which impedes growth and repair of gum tissue, and poor oral hygiene
  • Poor nutrition
  • Hormonal changes from pregnancy, puberty, menopause, and monthly menstruation. These changes can make gums more sensitive, thereby making it easier for gingivitis to develop
  • Illnesses such as cancer or HIV that interfere with the immune system. Diabetes also affects the body`s ability to use blood sugar, and thus, diabetics are at higher risk of developing periodontal disease
  • Some drugs (such as diphenylhydantoin, also called Dilantin, the anti-angina drug nifedipine, also called Procardia or Adalat), can cause abnormal growth of gum tissue, calcium channel blockers, which are used to control high blood pressure or for people with heart problems, cyclosporine, a medication that suppresses the immune system and is used to keep the body from rejecting transplanted organs, and oral contraceptives)
  • Some medications, which lessen the flow of saliva, which has a protective effect on teeth and gums
  • Stress
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth

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