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Gum disease, medically known as periodontal disease, is a common but preventable oral health issue. While poor oral hygiene is the most common cause, there are several lesser-known risk factors that might surprise you. Here are the top five unexpected risk factors for gum disease and how they affect your smile. 

1. Stress

The relationship between stress and gum disease might seem far-fetched, but there’s significant scientific evidence linking the two. Stress weakens your body’s immune system, making it harder to fight off infections, including periodontal disease. Furthermore, stress can lead to harmful habits such as teeth grinding or poor oral care, increasing the risk of gum disease.

2. Hormonal Changes in Women

Fluctuating hormone levels in women during puberty, pregnancy, menopause, or even monthly menstruation can make gums more sensitive and vulnerable to gum disease. During these periods, maintaining good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups becomes even more important.

3. Certain Medications

Some medications can affect oral health by reducing saliva flow, which plays a crucial role in washing away food particles and neutralizing harmful acids. Medications such as certain antidepressants, antihistamines, and drugs for hypertension can decrease saliva production, increasing the risk of gum disease.

4. Poor Nutrition and Obesity

A diet low in essential nutrients can compromise the body’s immune system, making it harder to fight off infection and promoting gum disease. Moreover, research shows that obesity increases the risk of periodontal disease, as it may lead to increased production of cytokines, proteins with inflammatory properties.

5. Smoking and Tobacco Use

Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors for periodontal disease. Tobacco reduces blood flow to the gums, depriving them of essential nutrients and impairing the body’s ability to heal and regenerate gum tissues. This, combined with the damaging chemicals in tobacco, significantly raises the risk of gum disease.

Preventing Gum Disease at the Center for Periodontics

While these risk factors can increase your chances of developing gum disease, remember that the primary cause is still poor oral hygiene. Brushing twice daily, flossing regularly, and scheduling routine dental check-ups are fundamental steps in preventing periodontal disease.

At the Center for Periodontics, we are committed to helping you maintain your gum health and overall oral well-being. Our Philadelphia periodontist offers comprehensive periodontal examinations and individualized treatment plans to address any issues, including gum disease.

Prevent & Treat Gum Disease With Our Philadelphia Periodontist

Understanding and managing risk factors for gum disease is a critical aspect of maintaining good oral health. While some factors may be surprising, awareness can lead to proactive measures that help prevent gum disease. Trust the Center for Periodontics to guide you in your journey towards optimal oral health, one smile at a time. Contact Dr. Barry Levin today to schedule your appointment!