Risk factors for gum disease

Learn the risk factors
for Gum Disease

Gum disease is often recognised too late

Periodontitis can often evolve silently, although a dentist can identify the first signs of disease in a very early stage.

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Bleeding gums are a warning sign

Healthy gums are attached firmly to the teeth and do not bleed when touched. Diseased gums are reddened, bleed easily when touched and even spontaneously and are swollen. The teeth might appear stained due to the accumulation of bacterial plaque.

Risk factors and risk groups

Certain risk factors increase the probability of development and progression of periodontitis.

Stress can cause gum problems


Stressful situations have an effect on the health of the gums People under psychological stress also often neglect oral hygiene. This further promotes the build-up of dental plaque and consequently the inflammation of the gingival tissue.

Diabetes is the risk for gum disease


With a raised blood sugar level, the immune system reacts more strongly to cell attack by plaque bacteria a the gum margins. Diabetics have a three times higher risk of developing gum.

Gum inflammation can increase during pregnancy period


During pregnancy hormone levels in the body change. This determines modifications in the gums morphology and physiology. Susceptibility to inflammation of the gums and periodontitis increases.

Gum health may decrease in high blood pressure cases

High blood pressure

Some medication used to treat high blood pressure (e.g. nifedipine, amlodipine, nitrendipine) can cause gum proliferation. This can promote the formation of bacterial dental plaque and make dental care more difficult.

Elderly may experience gum problems

From the age of 40

Gum disease can start at any age, especially if other risk factors like smoking or diabetes are at play. However, the risk of periodontitis increases considerably as you are aging. Studies show an increase in gum disease incidence with age.

Smoking contributes to gum issues


Smokers suffer of periodontal disease 2.5 to 6 times more often than non-smokers. The periodontitis is usually more serious, and the chances of successful treatment and healing are less good.