Who's at Risk for Gum Disease?

More than 47% of American adults have some degree of gum disease, and more than 70% of senior citizens have it. Although those stats make it seem very common, that doesn’t mean you’re destined to get gum disease, also known as periodontal disease.

Benjamin C. Wang, DMD, and our team of dental professionals at Centerport Family & Implant Dentistry in Portland, Oregon, see the effects of gum disease in varying stages every day. In most cases, it’s completely preventable, but there are a few things that put you at greater risk for the condition than others. 


Obviously, there’s nothing you can do about heredity. If you got stuck with genes that predispose you to gum disease, you may have a harder time keeping it at bay than others, but it’s not impossible. Diligent oral hygiene at home and in our office are critical in your gum care.


Smoking harms your health in many ways, but most people don’t automatically think about its effect on gums. Tobacco affects your gums in four ways:

If you smoke, it’s best to quit as soon as possible for your dental and overall health.


Certain medications, while great for your medical condition, may put your dental health at risk. Some drugs, and even some supplements, like minerals, vitamins, and herbs, can lead to gum problems, such as:

When you come see us for a checkup or cleaning, make sure you let us know about all the medications and supplements you use so we can be on the lookout for potential side effects. 

Medical conditions

Diabetes is known for making it hard to fight off infection, and that includes gum disease. But it’s not the only medical condition that puts you at risk for periodontal problems. HIV and some types of cancer can contribute as well, because these diseases and their treatments cause dry mouth and sores that invite infection.


When hormones fluctuate, they throw your body out of balance and affect numerous functions, including the way your gums react to the presence of plaque. That’s why pregnant women are especially prone to gingivitis (early gum disease). Though treatable, it can quickly lead to the more serious periodontitis if left untreated. 

What you can do to prevent gum disease

Gum disease should not be taken lightly. If you ignore it, it can have adverse effects on your overall health, including heart disease, stroke, neurological conditions, erectile dysfunction, and even some cancers. 

But with proper personal and professional care, you can overcome the odds and keep your gums healthy for life. If you show signs of gum disease, we use the most advanced technology to deep clean the tissues, including the hard-to-reach places under your gum line. 

We also use powerful, but safe, chemotherapeutic antibiotic treatments that destroy harmful bacteria that cause and perpetuate gum disease. 

Finally, Dr. Wang uses innovative laser technology to quickly and efficiently remove diseased tissues. This treatment significantly reduces inflammation, triggers the production of collagen, and promotes faster healing.

If you’re at risk for gum disease or already have it, schedule a visit with Dr. Wang by calling our office or booking an appointment online to find out your best prevention and treatment options.

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