Periodontal disease occurs when the plaque that adheres to your teeth is not effectively removed. Plaque forms when the bacteria within your mouth combines with mucus, creating a sticky and damaging substance that attaches itself to your teeth. Brushing and flossing regularly will certainly help you minimize the formation of plaque in your mouth, but plaque that remains often turns into something called tartar, which cannot be easily brushed or flossed away (although a thorough cleaning by a professional will likely get the job done).

To reduce your chances of developing gum disease, it’s important to recognize risk factors. Here’s a look at some of the things that commonly lead to gum disease, so you can learn to avoid them.

Your Genetic Makeup

Your genetics play an important role in determining how healthy your teeth and gums are. So much so, in fact, that some researchers believe that as much as 30 percent of the population is especially susceptible to the condition. That being said, even those who are predisposed to periodontal disease can dramatically reduce their chances of developing it simply by engaging in strong oral hygiene practices.

Your Stress Level

While stress in and of itself isn’t a direct contributor to periodontal disease, it has a tendency to weaken your overall immune system, meaning you’ll have a tougher time fighting off infections. In other words, if you’re in the beginning stages of gum disease and are particularly stressed out, it will likely exacerbate the problem. 

Your Smoking Habit

If you don’t already suffer from periodontal disease, smoking may cause it to develop. If you’re a smoker and you already have symptoms of gum disease, continuing the habit will only make the problem worse. The more you smoke, the greater your risk, so cutting down your existing habit (or better yet, quitting entirely) can pay off in the form of improved oral health.

There are many risk factors associated with periodontal disease. The easiest and most effective way of reducing your chance of developing it is to practice strong brushing and flossing habits and visit your dentist at regular intervals.