Risk Factors For Periodontal Disease
Many risk factors increase the likelihood of periodontal disease development, as well as the severity and speed at which it may occur.
Among the most common are:
The primary reasons to consider risk factors for periodontal disease are to understand the likelihood of its development and progression, and the predictability of favorable treatment outcomes. It is important to understand that risk factors don’t cause gum disease; they increase the likelihood that it will occur.
All risk factors are not created equal. Diabetes and smoking are the biggest risk factors for periodontal disease, increasing the occurrence, severity, and speed of onset and progression. The No. 1 systemic condition that increases susceptibility to periodontal disease is diabetes. The No. 1 systemic condition adversely affected by periodontal disease is also diabetes.
Poorly controlled diabetic people have a much higher incidence of diabetic complications including heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and periodontal disease. Hyperglycemia leads to gum tissue breakdown, decreased ability of the body to defend itself against the pathogenic bacteria, and a reduced ability to repair damaged gum tissues. Unfortunately, periodontal disease also contributes to poor glycemic control by increasing insulin resistance, creating a vicious cycle.
Smoking is the No. 1 environmental and behavioral risk factor for periodontal disease, increasing the rate of bone resorption, chronic inflammation, and suppression of antibodies, which facilitates bacterial flourishing. Other risk factors play important roles as well. Many common medications contribute to xerostomia, reducing the protective properties of saliva.