Periodontal disease is a prevalent and progressive dental issue, often following tooth decay that can significantly affect oral health. Symptoms such as inflamed, bleeding gums and compromised bone structure can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. Identifying the underlying causes of periodontal diseases enables specialists offering dental care in Brookline to formulate effective treatment strategies aimed at restoring oral health and aesthetics. 

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a progressive destruction of the tissues surrounding and supporting your teeth, namely the gums and jawbone. It initially begins as an inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), resulting in red, inflamed, swollen, and bleeding gums and may gradually progress to the underlying jawbone, causing permanent damage (periodontitis), resulting in mobility and tooth loss.   

What are the most prevalent causes of periodontal disease?

The following are some of the possible causes of periodontal disease: 

Genetic factors

  • People with a genetic predisposition (if a family member suffers from it) are six times more likely to develop periodontal disease. 

Poor oral hygiene

  • Lack of good oral habits can cause an increase in bacterial infiltration and plaque formation. This leads to the secretion of harmful toxins and acids that damage your teeth and surrounding structures. 

Smoking and tobacco use

  • Smokers are more prone to gingival inflammation and bone loss. 
  • This is because smoking leads to poor healing and recovery rates. 

Hormonal fluctuations 

  • Hormonal imbalance, as seen during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, can wreak havoc on your oral health due to gum inflammation. 


A poorly balanced diet or malnutrition can lead to nutritional deficiencies that can also play a vital role in causing gum disease due to impaired healing ability.  

Underlying medical issues 

  • Certain health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, or respiratory disease can increase your risk of periodontal disease.
  • This is mostly attributed to poor healing and recovery rates. 

Certain medications

  • Drugs such as antihypertensives, oral contraceptive pills, steroids, antihypertensives, and antidepressants can negatively affect the overall health of the teeth and gums. They facilitate bacterial colonization and cause gingival swelling.

Chronic stress and anxiety 

  • Stress greatly lowers the ability of your immune system to fight off disease. Your body’s defense mechanism is compromised, which causes gum disease. 


  • Abnormal grinding or clenching of teeth is believed to damage the supporting tissue surrounding the teeth due to extreme forces exerted.  

Understanding the underlying causes of periodontal disease is essential for effective management and treatment. Merely addressing symptoms is insufficient for resolving dental issues. Timely dental intervention can help prevent the development, advancement, and recurrence of periodontal disease.