What causes gum disease? Plaque is the primary cause of gum disease. However, other factors can contribute to periodontal disease. These include: Hormonal changes, such as those occurring during pregnancy or puberty, menopause, can make gums more sensitive, which makes it easier for gingivitis to develop. Illnesses may affect the condition of your gums. This includes diseases such as cancer that interfere with the immune system. Because diabetes affects the body's ability to use blood sugar, patients with this disease are at higher risk of developing infections, including periodontal disease and cavities. Medications can affect oral health, because some lessen the flow of saliva, which has a protective effect on teeth and gums. Some drugs, such as the anticonvulsant medication dilatin and the anti-angina drug can cause abnormal growth of gum tissue. Bad habits such as smoking make it harder for gum tissue to repair itself. Poor oral hygiene habits such as not brushing and flossing on a daily basis, make it easier for gingivitis to develop. Family history of dental disease can be a contributing factor for the development of gingivitis.
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