Risk Factors for Periodontal Disease
A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop periodontal disease with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing periodontal disease. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your dentist or doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
- Poor oral hygeine is the most important risk factor.
Smoking—Smoking greatly increases your risk of developing periodontal disease.
It also greatly reduces the chance that treatments for periodontal disease will be effective.
Poor nutrition—An unhealthy diet, such as one that is high in fat and low in
vitamin C, can increase your chance of periodontal disease.
- Stress—Stress can reduce your body’s ability to fight off the infection that prompts periodontal disease.
- Clenching or grinding your teeth due to stress may increase your chance of periodontal disease.
Conditions that increase your risk of periodontal disease include:
Taking certain medications can increase your risk of developing periodontal disease, such as:
- Birth control pills
- Heart medications
Medications used to treat
medications for cancer treatment
- Medications used to treat AIDS
- Immunosuppressant medications
Your risk of developing periodontal disease increases as you age.
Women are more likely than men to develop periodontitis, probably because of hormonal changes that women experience throughout their life cycle.
There seems to be a genetic tendency for certain people to develop periodontitis.
African Americans and people of Hispanic origin have a higher rate of periodontitis than do Caucasian Americans.
Other factors that may increase your risk of periodontitis include:
- Living in poverty
- Having badly fitting dentures and/or uneven fillings or crowns
- Being a habitual mouth breather
Gum disease risk factors. American Academy of Periodontology website. Available at:
Accessed August 17, 2016.
Gum (Periodontal) Disease. NIH SeniorHealth website. Available at:
Accessed August 17, 2016.
Periodontal disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
Updated March 10, 2015. Accessed August 17, 2016.
Periodontal (gum) disease: Causes, symptoms, and treatments. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research website. Available at:
http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/GumDiseases/PeriodontalGumDisease.htm#riskFactors.Updated September 2013. Accessed August 17, 2016.
5/28/2014 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Nibali L, Tatarakis N, Needleman I, et al. Clinical review: Association between metabolic syndrome and periodontitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013;98(3):913-920.