Causes of Gum Disease in Novato

Written by Dr. McConnell on Aug 8, 2021

When children grow up learning about the dangers of failing to brush and floss properly, the number one deterrent is the threat of cavities. However, gum disease (also known as periodontitis) can be just as dangerous for a person’s oral health. Unhealthy gums can see the damage done to the soft tissue in their mouth and ultimately destroy the bone that supports teeth, leading to loosened or even lost teeth.


Knowing the dangers of gum disease for Novato patients, the professionals at Marin Modern Dentistry would like to have a look at some of the major causes of periodontitis. Knowing what causes something is the easiest way to prevent it from happening and seek appropriate treatment.


Five Major Causes of Gum Disease


Poor Brushing and Flossing Habits


Most gum disease stems from a patient’s inability to properly clean the plaque from their teeth. Plaque eventually turns to hard tartar near the gum line, causing inflammation, bad breath, and bleeding gums. The best way to help an otherwise healthy mouth avoid gum disease is to brush and floss twice per day and to visit your dental hygienist twice a year for routine cleanings. 


Smoking/Tobacco Use


When it comes to oral health, smoking (or any other sort of tobacco use) is certain to cause problems. Notably, one of those issues is gum disease, which absolutely can be nudged along by the use of tobacco. In fact, studies have shown that tobacco use is one of the most significant risk factors in bringing about gum disease. There are many health benefits to quitting smoking, including a lower risk of periodontitis.




Unfortunately, some people are predisposed to contracting gum disease simply because it runs in the family. According to the American Dental Association, genetics are a risk factor in developing periodontitis. While proper brushing and flossing and cutting out bad habits like smoking are helpful no matter who you are, they are especially important for those who may have a genetic inclination toward gum disease.




According to the CDC, 70% of Americans over the age of 65 are currently experiencing some sort of gum disease, which puts older patients at much higher risk for contracting periodontitis at an advanced age. 


Certain Medications


Some medications can impact the health of a patient’s gums. The most common culprits are oral contraceptives, some anti-depressants, and a handful of heart medications. If you’re interested in learning whether your medications are being problematic, you can talk with your dentist and your general practitioner.


Getting Help for Periodontitis at Marin Modern Dentistry


If you worry that you’re suffering from gum disease and would like to seek help, Marin Modern Dentistry offers treatment, including some that are non-surgical periodontal options for Novato patients. To have a closer look at your gums, the best place to start is your biannual checkup, where we can catch gum disease in its infancy. For more advanced cases, we offer innovative, non-invasive options including laser therapy to help save your gums and your natural teeth, regardless of what caused that gum disease in the first place.