Lesson 3: Risk Factors

Martin to Dr. Lee: "What causes periodontal disease?"

Dr. Lee to Martin: "Gram-negative bacteria, such as Porphyromonas gingivalis, are most strongly associated with periodontitis. There are several risk factors for developing periodontal disease. The most important is poor oral hygiene; however, dental professionals have long been aware of certain links between oral health and systemic health, as in the cases of bacteremias (bacterial endocarditis and early premedication for artificial joints). We have also understood the reverse: that systemic conditions affect oral tissues, for example, pregnancy gingivitis/pyogenic granuloma and diabetes-related oral health areas. There is some evidence that periodontal disease may also be seen in families.

As I am sure you understand, it is important to treat periodontal disease properly and prevent it from progressing, as well as strive to control or eliminate other potential and contributing risk factors."