Periodontitis refers to a dental problem, which is usually characterized by an inflamed tooth. In the field of dentistry, it is a severe gum infection, since it triggers serious damage to the bone and soft tissues, supporting your teeth. It is just one of the few forms of periodontal diseases or infections that affect your periodontium, or those tissues surrounding, or supporting the affected tooth.

Periodontitis is a serious disease, which can lead to tooth loss. It affects around 5 to 20 percent of the majority of adult population worldwide. The problem usually starts with plaque, which is a sticky film comprised of numerous bacteria. It tends to form on your teeth when sugar and starches, found in the foods you eat, come in contact with the bacteria that thrive normally in your mouth.

It is advisable to floss and brush your teeth to remove plaque. However, there are still those who cannot avoid periodontitis, even if they floss and brush their teeth regularly, since plaque tends to re-form fast. In most cases, you can expect it to develop again within just 24 hours. If the plaque remains in your teeth for more than 2 to 3 days, it can form tartar, making it even harder to get rid of the plaque. This will eventually cause more bacteria to thrive in your mouth.

If tartar and plaque stay on your teeth for long, they can trigger further damage, leading to severe inflammation and irritation. If left untreated for a long time, your teeth and gums will start forming pockets filled with bacteria, tartar and plaque. This will result to the accumulation of more bacteria, severely infecting your tissues, bones and gums. This is when severe periodontitis develops.

If you want to prevent this problem, then learning about its causes and risk factors is a must, so you can avoid them. Here are just some of them:

1. Age – According to studies, older people have higher risk of suffering from periodontitis. In fact, more than 70 percent of those living in America, who are at least 65 years old, have the problem.

2. Excessive smoking – Smoking contributes to a lot of chronic illnesses, including heart and lung disease and cancer. Those who smoke excessively are also at higher risk of developing periodontitis.

3. Genetics – According to research, there are those who are genetically susceptible to periodontitis. They are at risk even if they follow aggressive dental care habits because of their genetic makeup.

4. Stress – Another popular risk factor for periodontitis is stress. Note that chronic stress makes it harder for you to treat infections, such as periodontitis.

5. Teeth grinding or clenching – These are unwanted habits that can put unnecessary force, and too much pressure on the tissues that support your teeth, making you more prone to developing the condition.

6. Obesity – Also linked to this risk factor is poor nutrition. Note that both can damage your immunity, making it more difficult for your body to heal naturally from all forms of dental infection.

Learning about these causes and risk factors is your key towards preventing the condition, and ensuring that your dental health will continue to be at its peak.