Periodontal Diseases: Causes and Prevention

What are Periodontal Diseases

Usually the result of poor oral hygiene, periodontal diseases usually occur in adulthood when years of not taking care of your teeth have taken its toll. Periodontal diseases run from the first stage and mildest form, gingivitis, and leads to periodontitis where teeth can loosen or even fall out. Basically, periodontal diseases are characterized by infections of the gums. In any stage, periodontal diseases can cause your teeth and gums to experience major problems. They can also cause problems with the health of certain other areas of the body, such as the heart.


Types of Periodontal Diseases

There are different types of periodontal diseases with gingivitis being the mildest form. In all types, if left untreated, teeth can loosen or fall out because of the infection. Here are the various types of periodontal diseases:

  • Gingivitis – Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. If treated, gingivitis can be reversed before it progresses to a more serious form of periodontal disease.
  • Aggressive Periodontitis A form of periodontitis that occurs in patients who are otherwise clinically healthy. This disease can start in childhood or early adulthood and run for the rest of your life. It tends to be hereditary.
  • Chronic Periodontitis This is the most common form of periodontal diseases. It occurs when there’s plaque buildup in between teeth and in the pockets between the gums. There’s a slow progression of the disease where it may improve or worsen, but it’s always destructive to the teeth and gums.
  • Necrotizing Periodontal Disease – This disease is characterized by a lack of blood supply that results in the death of gum tissue, tooth ligaments and supporting bone. This causes a severe infection. This type happens to people with compromised immune systems, such as those with HIV, cancer and other illnesses. It’s also caused by malnutrition.

Causes of Periodontal Diseases

There are many causes of periodontal diseases with most of them preventable:

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Tobacco use
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Pregnancy and menopause
  • Chronic stress and poor diet
  • Diabetes and underlying medical issues
  • Grinding teeth
  • Medication

How You Can Prevent Periodontal Diseases

Even if you have a disease that can cause periodontal disease, you still can take measures to prevent it from happening to you.

  • Brush your teeth – Brushing your teeth at least two times per day can help keep away plaque and tartar, thus helping you to prevent infection of your gums.
  • Floss – You need to floss every day to get rid of food in between your teeth and in the gum pockets.
  • Swish with mouthwash – Mouthwash not only freshens your breath, but also helps to get rid of any remaining food in between your teeth.
  • Know your risk – If you have an illness that could cause periodontal disease, know that you’re at risk. Take extra precaution by taking care of your teeth and gums properly.
  • See a periodontist


The Periodontists at the Center for Advanced Periodontal & Implant Therapy serves patients with periodontal diseases in the Los Angeles area