Although the primary risk factor for gingivitis is poor oral health maintenance, genetics can add to your risk. Gingivitis, also known as gum disease or periodontal disease, is when excess levels of germs and bacteria in your mouth affect your gums. The environment of your mouth determines whether you are at risk for this disease and some of the bad environments are created simply through your genetic makeup.

Abnormal tooth structures can create an environment for bacteria to grow. When you develop wisdom teeth, solely determined by genetics, this can also create a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. It is important to have your dentist regularly assess your smile as you grow from adolescence to adulthood to correct these irregularities through orthodontics and other surgeries.

Women are at risk for gingivitis because of hormonal changes they experience throughout their lifetime. Between adolescence, periods of pregnancy, and menopause, the hormone balance in your body changes. Even menstrual cycles can affect the environment of your mouth. Women should take special care to maintain oral healthcare and avoid certain foods during times of hormonal changes.

Medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease can also affect your risk level for gingivitis. Although these conditions are preventable through diet and exercise, some people have a genetic pre-disposition to these conditions.

Be aware that the biggest factors for gingivitis are habitual, controllable factors. If you’re still concerned, contact Dr. Grabiak to discuss your family history along with your habits to help keep you from being at risk.