What are the major risk factors for periodontal disease?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Major risk factors for periodontal disease include:
  • genetic susceptibility (30% of the population)
  • medications (oral contraceptives, antidepressants, blood pressure drugs, chemotherapy)
  • diabetes
  • autoimmune diseases (Rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, lupus)
  • obesity
  • poor diet
  • pregnancy
  • osteoporosis
  • genetic diseases (Down's syndrome)
  • immunocompromising viruses (HIV, herpes)
It is particularly important to be evaluated for periodontal disease if you are planning to become pregnant or beginning cancer therapy or other treatment that might compromise the immune system.

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The major risk factors for periodontal disease include the following:
  • Cigarette smoking. Smoking is one of the greatest risk factors for gum disease or gingivitis.
  • Imbalanced hormones in women. Hormone swings can increase gum sensitivity.
  • Diabetes. Diabetes, a disorder that disrupts the way the body uses glucose, increases the risk of dry mouth and infections that include gum disease. Saliva serves a healing purpose as it cleanses the teeth and gums. With dry mouth there is a reduction of saliva, resulting in bacteria and infections.
  • Certain medications. Some medications reduce saliva and increase gum infections.
  • Diseases. Cancer, AIDs, and medications used to treat these diseases can result in unhealthy gum tissue.
  • Genetics. Some people are more genetically predestined to get gum disease and periodontal disease.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.