Causes of Gum Disease

Bleeding Gums

Major Causes of Gum Disease

Your oral health has an impact on your overall health so any signs of a gum infection or bleeding gums need to be addressed as soon as possible. The main cause of periodontal (gum) disease is plaque, but other factors affect the health of your gums include:


  • Studies indicate that older people have the highest rates of periodontal disease. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that over 70% of Americans 65 and older have periodontitis.

Smoking or Tobacco Use

  • Tobacco use is linked with many serious illnesses such as cancer, lung disease and heart disease, as well as numerous other health problems. Tobacco users also are at increased risk for periodontal disease. Studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease.


  • Research has indicated that some people may be genetically susceptible to gum disease. Despite aggressive oral care habits, these people may be more likely to develop periodontal disease. Identifying these people with a genetic test before they even show signs of the disease and getting them into early intervention treatment may help them keep their teeth for a lifetime.


  • Stress is linked to many serious conditions such as hypertension, cancer, and numerous other health problems. Stress also is a risk factor for periodontal disease. Research demonstrates that stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection, including periodontal diseases.


  • Some drugs, such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, and certain heart medicines, can affect your oral health. Just as you notify your pharmacist and other health care providers of all medicines you are taking and any changes in your overall health, you should also inform your dental care provider.

Clenching or Grinding your Teeth

  • Clenching or grinding your teeth can put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could speed up the rate at which these periodontal tissues are destroyed.

Other Systemic Diseases

  • Other systemic diseases that interfere with the body's inflammatory system may worsen the condition of the gums. These include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Poor Nutrition and Obesity

  • A diet low in important nutrients can compromise the body's immune system and make it harder for the body to fight off infection. Because periodontal disease begins as an infection, poor nutrition can worsen the condition of your gums. In addition, research has shown that obesity may increase the risk of periodontal disease.
Benefits of Osseous Surgery

Do your gums bleed regularly?

The health of your mouth plays a role in the health of your entire body, so any signs of gum disease need to be taken seriously. Bleeding gums is one of the symptoms of gum disease and can be a sign that your gums have become inflamed or infected. Bleeding gums should not be ignored. If you are experiencing this condition, set up an appointment with doctors Huamán and Flores as soon as possible.

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Other Causes of Bleeding Gums

  • Poor Oral Hygiene
  • Brushing Too Hard
  • Ill-Fitting Dentures
  • Improper Flossing
  • Infection - Either Tooth or Gum Related

Bad Breath

Major Causes of Bad Breath

If you are neglecting your daily brushing and flossing routine, you may be at a higher risk of developing oral health problems that cause bad breath. The medical term for bad breath is halitosis and you may need to work with doctors Huamán and Flores to eliminate the problem. Some of the causes of bad breath include:

Food choices

  • Eating foods with very strong odors can cause halitosis. You can mask the odor temporarily by brushing, flossing, or using mouthwash.

Poor oral hygiene practices

  • If you are not brushing and flossing regularly or are not using a tongue scraper to keep your tongue clean, you may develop persistent bad breath.

Lifestyle habits

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco can cause gum irritation, affect your taste buds, and also contribute to bad breath.

Gum disease

  • Halitosis can also be a side effect of gum disease because plaque and tartar buildup becomes a breeding ground for bacteria which product sulfur compounds.

Other causes include: Yeast infections in the mouth, dry mouth, poorly fitting dental appliances, and chronic illnesses such as diabetes, liver problems, acid reflux, or sinus infections.

Benefits of Osseous Surgery

Preventing Bad Breath

  • Practicing good oral hygiene
  • Maintaining professional teeth cleanings
  • Eliminating use of tobacco products
  • Maintaining a food log
  • Stimulate saliva flow by drinking more water, chewing gum, or sucking on sugar free candy

Stages of Gum Disease

Stages of Gum Disease

The 3 Stages of Gum Disease

The stages of gum disease are progressive and can result in eventual tooth loss if left untreated. The earlier that this disease is identified and treated, the better your chances are to keep your teeth for the rest of your life. The 3 Stages of Gum Disease Are:

Stage 1: Gingivitis
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease and is caused by plaque and bacterial buildup around the gum line. If you neglect to brush or floss your teeth daily, these bacteria can grow and cause gum disease. Gingivitis causes inflammation of the gums. Gums that should otherwise be pink will appear red and swollen and you might experience bleeding when you brush or floss. However, at this point, gingivitis can still be reversed since the bone and fibers that hold your teeth in place have not yet been affected. The gum tissues heal once the irritants have been removed from the teeth and gums, thus eliminating gingivitis.
Stage 2: Periodontitis
If gingivitis is left untreated, the condition can progress to periodontitis. At this stage, the supporting bone and fibers that hold your teeth in place have been irreversibly damaged. The spaces between your teeth and gums begin to form “pockets,” which are deep hollow areas around the teeth that trap plaque and bacteria. These deeper pockets allow plaque, bacteria, and tartar to accumulate, destroying the structures that support the teeth. Your gums may recede and form gaps between your teeth. Visiting a doctor for immediate gum disease treatment is necessary to prevent further damage and tooth loss.
Stage 3: Advanced Periodontitis
In this final stage of gum disease, periodontitis has progressed and become advanced periodontitis. Bacteria that was allowed to grow, spread, and cause destruction has destroyed the connective tissues and bone that support the teeth. The pockets that formed in the previous stage have become much deeper. Your teeth can shift or become loose. Loose teeth that move around in the mouth may affect your bite. At this stage, seeing a doctor for gum disease treatment is needed to save the teeth.

Periodontal Disease

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal Disease Explained

Periodontal disease is another term for gum disease, typically involving some of the more advanced stages. The word "periodontal" means "around the tooth." Periodontal disease (also known as "gum disease," "pyorrhea" or "periodontal infection") is an ongoing bacterial infection in the gums and bone around your teeth. This infection leads to inflammation under the gums and if not treated, can destroy the bone around your teeth. This results in tooth loss. Approximately 75% of all adult tooth loss is due to periodontal infection.

More importantly, research has associated periodontal infection to several serious medical problems, including heart disease, diabetes and stroke. As ongoing research continues to define how periodontal disease is associated with these and other health problems, oral health maintenance is essential. Periodontal health is a key component to a healthy body.

Periodontal Disease is an Ongoing Infection

Have you ever gotten a splinter caught under the skin of your hand? Because the wound is open to bacteria, the site may become infected and so appear red and inflamed. In time, your immune system fights off the bacteria and your hand heals.

During an ongoing infection, however, your immune system is unable to conquer the bacteria on its own, while the pain and redness continue to worsen.

Periodontal disease is an ongoing infection in the pockets around your teeth. You cannot fight off the infection alone, but with periodontal therapy, we are able to remove debris and bacteria from the site, allowing the gum to heal.

Infection Occurs in "bursts" of Activity

Have you ever gotten a splinter caught under the skin of your hand? Because the wound is open to bacteria, the site may become infected and so appear red and inflamed. In time, your immune system fights off the bacteria and your hand heals.

During an ongoing infection, however, your immune system is unable to conquer the bacteria on its own, while the pain and redness continue to worsen.

Periodontal disease is an ongoing infection in the pockets around your teeth. You cannot fight off the infection alone, but with periodontal therapy, we are able to remove debris and bacteria from the site, allowing the gum to heal.

Benefits of Osseous Surgery

Gum Disease is Linked to Health Concerns

It has been estimated that 75% of Americans have some form of gum disease which has been linked to serious health complications including:

  • Heart Disease
  • Premature Birth or Low Birth-Weight Babies
  • Stroke
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Memory Loss or Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Head and Neck Cancer

The daily task of brushing and flossing your teeth has never been more important in order to avoid gum disease and reduce the risks that gum disease places on your overall health. With hundreds of bacteria that are known to cause periodontal disease present in the mouth, practicing good oral hygeine habits and scheduling regular dental visits are vital to your health.

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal infection is usually painless until it reaches an advanced stage. However, there are some symptoms which can indicate the presence of periodontal infection which include:

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Bleeding when brushing (pink toothbrush), or at other times
  • Aching, itchy, sore or tender gums
  • Receding gums (teeth beginning to look longer)
  • Pus between your teeth and gums when you press down on the gums
  • Bad breath
  • Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Any change in the fit of partial dentures
  • Loose, separating or protruding teeth
  • Spaces between teeth

If you notice any of the above warning signs of periodontal infection, please contact your general dentist and ask for a periodontal evaluation.

Important Note: Your gums can look and feel quite normal and yet deep pockets of periodontal infection can still be present. To be certain about any periodontal disease, ask your dentist or periodontist to examine your gums for signs of infection.

What is a Periodontist?

Periodontal Disease Specialist

A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease. Many periodontists have also taken advanced training in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists receive extensive training in these areas, including 3 additional years of education beyond dental school.

Tooth and Bone Loss

Tooth and Bone Loss

Causes of Tooth and Bone Loss

You may lose your teeth for a variety of reasons, including untreated gum disease, birth defects, other types of disease, and decay that requires extraction of the tooth. Many dental and health problems may be the result of losing your teeth or having teeth removed. The leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the United States is gum disease, or periodontal disease. If you notice that your teeth are becoming loose, you must seek treatment as soon as possible. Here are some of the ways that tooth loss can affect your daily life:

Diet Changes

  • When your teeth are out of alignment because of missing teeth, you may find it difficult to eat certain foods. Missing teeth can make it challenging to chew food properly and you may have to restrict your diet to soft and easily chewable foods. This can lead to nutritional imbalances which may contribute to arthritis, rheumatism, indigestion, and a host of other health problems.


  • Your teeth play an important role in your ability to speak clearly because certain sounds are made with tongue to tooth contact. When you are missing teeth in certain parts of the mouth, you may develop a lisp. The tongue can become wider and fill the space left by missing teeth, which in turn may make it difficult to speak clearly.

Bone Loss

  • Our teeth play an important role in stimulating the jaw bone. Every time you chew, you stimulate the bone in the jaw which helps to keep it healthy and strong. When you have missing teeth, the jaw bone can start to break down and bone loss can cause changes in your facial appearance. Drs. Huamán and Flores can provide information about tooth replacement options during your consultation.
  • Periodontal disease is the primary reason that adults lose their teeth. If you need more information about treatment options for tooth loss in San Diego, CA or need treatment for gum disease, set up your appointment with Drs. Huamán and Flores today!

Consequences of Periodontal Disease

Dental Consequences

Tooth and Bone Loss

Tooth Loss

  • Periodontal disease is the cause of 75% of all adult tooth loss. When your gums and bone are damaged by periodontal infection, there is less support for your teeth. As this support disappears, your teeth first become loose and then detach. When your dentist recommends periodontal treatment, it is important to get started right away.

Loss of Facial Bone Structure

  • Without teeth to stimulate bone formtation the jaw bone deteriorates. This leads to deformation of the natural contours of the face. Replacing lost teeth will help keep the jaw stimulated and prevent bone loss.

Replacing Lost Teeth

Surgery and Dentures

  • If the periodontal inflammation continues, you can start to lose your teeth one at a time. These lost teeth will have to be replaced with dental work, such as:
    • Bridges
    • Dental Implants
    • Partial Dentures
    • Full Dentures

Consequences of Dentures

  • If tooth loss continues, you may need dentures. Many patients do not understand the full consequences of wearing dentures. There can be many problems with dentures including:
    • Inability to eat certain foods
    • Inability to feel and taste foods
    • Lisping or clacking when speaking
    • Bad breath or smell
    • Pain or discomfort
    • Unnatural looking teeth
    • Self-consciousness and embarrassment while eating
    • Having to take your dentures out at night for soaking
    • Your spouse seeing you without teeth at night

The Good News

  • In most cases the progress of periodontal infection can be stopped with prompt treatment. The gums and bone around your teeth can then be saved from further damage.

Medical Consequences

Related Health Conditions

Periodontal disease leads to inflammation of the gums. This inflammatory bacteria then enters your bloodstream and travels throughout your body. Researchers have linked this process to a number of serious medical conditions. It is important to treat periodontal disease as quickly as possible to avoid the release of bacteria into your bloodstream.

"People think of gum disease in terms of their teeth, but they don't think about the fact that gum disease is a serious infection that can release bacteria into the bloodstream"-Dr. Robert Genco, editor “Journal of Periodontology”

Heart Disease & Heart Attack

  • Recent studies have shown that people with periodontal disease are 2.7 times more likely to suffer a heart attack.


  • Studies have also shown that people with periodontal disease are 3 times more likely to suffer a stroke.

Pre-Term Childbirth

  • Women with periodontal disease are 7-8 times more likely to give birth prematurely to a low birth-weight baby.


  • Periodontal infection can raise blood sugar in diabetic patients. Periodontal treatment often results in a reduced need for insulin.

Respiratory Disease

  • Periodontal infection in the mouth can be breathed in and increase the severity of such respiratory diseases as pneumonia, bronchitis and emphysema.

Periodontal Infection and your Health

Periodontal Infection is a Medical Problem

  • Periodontal disease is no longer thought to be just a dental problem. Researchers are finding many correlations between periodontal infection and serious medical problems.

Your Infection can be Transmitted

  • Research using DNA testing has found that 80% of all periodontal disease comes from bacteria transmitted from a parent or spouse. Patients with periodontal disease can pass their infection along to their loved ones.

Some Patients are at Higher Risk

  • Patients in certain higher risk categories (see below) should pay particular attention to any signs of periodontal disease. Those patients having a personal or family history of:
    • Heart disease
    • Heart attack
    • Stroke
    • Premature childbirth
    • Diabetes
    • Respiratory diseases
  • Or those patients having hight risk life styles, including:
    • Chronic Stress
    • Smoking
    • Stroke
    • Sedentary and overweight
    • Frequent colds, flu, etc.

Gum Disease Treatment Options

Scaling and Root Planing

About Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and Root Planing is a non-surgical technique for the treatment of gum disease. Essentially a deep cleaning, the goal of scaling and root planing is to remove the plaque and calculus from the teeth and tooth roots to disrupt the microenvironement (biofilm) of bacteria which is contributing to gum disease. Scaling is the debridement or removal of the plaque and calculus and planing is the polishing of the exposed tooth surfaces. Typically this is the first step in treating gum disease. Doctors Huamán and Flores can help best determine if further steps are required as part of your treatment plan.

Learn More about Scaling and Root Planing

LANAP® Laser Gum Surgery

About LANAP® Laser Gum Surgery

LANAP® or Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure is an FDA approved treatment protocol for gum disease and periodontitis. Research has shown that the laser therapy of deep pockets associated with periodontal disease has been efficacious in killing unhealthy microbes and leaving behind healthy tissue, taking away the need for traditional surgery and stitches. Follow the link below for more information regarding LANAP® for the treatment of gum disease.

Learn More about LANAP®