Periodontitis mostly afflict men and women in their thirties and forties although it may occur in younger age groups as well. Predominance of gum disease is more prevalent in men than women. Although there are many causes and risk factors that are both directly and indirectly linked to periodontitis, poor oral hygiene has been established as the primary causative factor accounting for more than 60% of all the cases. Poor oral hygienic practices accelerate the process of plaque formation that progresses to form tartars.
Not maintaining proper mealtimes and not taking balanced diet are two other major risk factors. These two causes can cause malnutrition that can affect the health of the gums and teeth. Smoking is also responsible in a big way for accentuating the periodontal process and moreover, it can minimise the chances of an effective treatment. Tobacco abuse in smokeless/ chewing forms is also detrimental for gums and teeth.
Certain systemic diseases like diabetes, cancers, heart diseases, kidney diseases, and AIDS complete with their treatment procedures can have an adverse effect on healthy functioning of the gums or teeth leading to gingivitis and other damaging types of periodontitis.
Many people have a genetic predisposition for developing chronic and aggressive types and even necrotic forms of periodontitis. Hormonal imbalances like at puberty, menstrual periods, pregnancy, menopause and stressful periods can also predispose to various forms of periodontitis.
Undergoing medical treatment and taking prescription or off the counter medicines can interfere with the smooth functioning of the salivary glands. Consequently, normal saliva secretion does not take place resulting in the dryness of mouth. This discrepancy makes the gums and the teeth susceptible to gum disease and its squeal.
When gum disease starts to set in, there are few tangible symptoms. Only when the periodontal disease becomes full blown, do the symptoms manifest themselves fully. At this stage, preliminary medical dental procedures such as scaling or root planning procedures might not prove successful. One might have to go in for comprehensive surgical procedures like bone or tissue grafting, and flap surgery.
Symptoms indicating gum disease comprise conditions such as:
- halitosis (bad breath)
- redness and swelling causing gums to bleed
- recurrent gum swelling
- sputtering blood post teeth brushing
- experiencing pain during chewing
- tooth sensitivity
- drifting of teeth
- teeth loss
- receding gums