Published: 12/17/2020

If you have bleeding or swollen gums, this is often the first sign of gum disease. Dr. Steven Rice, a board-certified periodontist with vast expertise in Rockville, MD, says it is vital to be aware of risk factors, especially since many are modifiable and early intervention is the best weapon against this common oral health condition.


Aging increases susceptibility to chronic inflammatory diseases and microbial infections (e.g. periodontitis). Furthermore, it’s not uncommon for oral care to diminish with age, thereby increasing bacteria in the mouth.


Several studies have shown that some people are more susceptible to periodontal disease due to heredity, despite excellent oral care habits.

Poor Oral Health Habits

Inadequate brushing and flossing can cause bacteria to accumulate, form plaque, and create pockets between the gums and the teeth, eventually attacking the bone and connective tissue supporting the teeth.

Smoking or Chewing Tobacco

Tobacco increases oral bacteria and inflammation, reducing the immune system’s ability to combat gingivitis and infections. Because nicotine restricts blood flow to the gums, smokers may have gum disease without the telltale signs of bleeding or swollen gums.

Poor Nutrition and Obesity

In younger individuals, gum disease is linked to a decrease in raw fruit and vegetables (vitamin C sources) and milk (calcium source) consumption, coupled with an uptick in soft drinks and non-citrus juices. Obesity increases inflammation throughout the body and may also lower immunity, making people more susceptible.


Uncontrolled blood sugar can raise glucose levels in saliva, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and a heightened risk of gum disease.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal fluctuations in women can cause an increased inflammatory response to bacterial plaque, causing gums to bleed. Pregnancy raises the risk of gingivitis, which left untreated, can lead to periodontitis.


Recent studies suggest that osteoporosis-related loss of bone density in the jaw may increase susceptibility to oral bacteria. Since women are three times more likely than men to develop osteoporosis, they are more vulnerable to periodontitis.

If you have a chronic disease or any other risks, seeking care from a periodontist with years of training and sophisticated procedures to treat gum disease offers many advantages. At Advanced Laser Gum Surgery Institute of Washington, we not only offer the tried-and-true solutions to gum disease treatment such as scaling and root planing and osseous surgery, we also incorporate cutting-edge dental lasers to ensure treatment is precise, minimally invasive, and long-lasting.

Prompt and Expert Care is Essential!

Schedule an appointment with acclaimed periodontist Dr. Rice at Advanced Laser Gum Surgery Institute of Washington by calling (301) 881-5040.

Talk to US About an Appointment