Periodontal disease, also commonly referred to as gum disease, is when bacteria infect your gums and mouth. “Peri” means around, and “odontal” refers to teeth. Periodontal disease can affect any part around the teeth including the gums, roots, ligaments, and bone. While plaque causes periodontal disease, there are some other common risk factors including:
- Poor oral hygiene: lack of brushing and flossing make periodontal disease easier to develop
- Genetics: things such as family history or having crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean can contribute to development of periodontal disease
- Habits: smoking or chewing tobacco make it harder for the gums to repair themselves
- Hormones: changes that occur in puberty, pregnancy, etc. can make periodontal disease easier to develop
- Illness: some illnesses such as cancer or diabetes can put you at higher risk for periodontal diseases. The medication you take can contribute as well.