What Causes Gum Disease?

Father and son brush their teeth together to keep their mouth healthy

Gum disease is no fun. Aside from being a leading cause of tooth loss in adults, it can mean painful gums and other complications. Luckily, Dr. Flesher can treat and manage gum disease when detected early. We want to help our patients at Royal Oak Family Dental understand on what causes gum disease, as well as some tips on avoiding gum disease all together.

Bacteria Buildup

At any given moment, our mouths are full of bacteria. While some bacteria is “good” bacteria that helps maintain your body’s natural balance, other bacteria build up to form a sticky, colorless substance known as “plaque” that can coat your teeth. Regular brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque, but any plaque left behind can eventually harden and form “tartar”, which can only be removed by a dental professional.

Gum Inflammation

The buildup of plaque and tartar cause your gums to become inflamed. If you notice that your gums appear red or swollen, or they bleed easily, let Dr. Flesher know. These are early signs of gingivitis, which can usually be reversed.


If left untreated, gingivitis can advance to become periodontitis. At this stage, your gums pull away from your teeth, leaving pockets that can easily become infected. This allows toxins to attack and break down the bone and tissue that hold your teeth in place. In severe cases, this means that your teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.

Risk Factors

Several factors can increase your risk for developing gum disease. Smoking both increases your likelihood of developing gum disease and decreases the chances for successful treatment. Other risk factors include diabetes, other illnesses, certain medications, and even genetics.

Notify Dr. Flesher!

If you notice any of the early warning signs of gum disease (red, swollen, painful gums or bleeding), let Dr. Flesher know as soon as possible. The earlier we can begin treatment, the easier it is to restore the health of your gums. To schedule your next appointment with our office or to ask our friendly team any questions, give us a call.

We can help keep your gums healthy!

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