5 Factors That Put You at a Higher Risk for Gingivitis

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria, viruses, or other irritants in your mouth. Gingivitis can happen in your mouth at any time of the year. But it’s mainly a problem for some people during the cold and flu season. 

You won’t know when you’re exposed to the bacteria that cause gingivitis. So, knowing which factors put you at higher risk is essential. Following the tips in this article can help you prevent gingivitis.

1. Smoking

If you smoke, you have a higher risk for gingivitis. This is because the harmful chemicals in tobacco products irritate your gums. Smoke also promotes inflammation, leading to plaque buildup. 

Keeping your teeth and mouth as healthy as possible is essential if you smoke. You can do this by brushing and flossing at least twice daily. Experts say that if you have a mouth full of plaque, the best way to treat it is with a dental cleaning. Getting your teeth cleaned removes the plaque and improves your oral health. Most individuals who smoke or use tobacco products should schedule a dental cleaning every three to six months.

2. Stress

If you’re feeling stressed out, it can make gingivitis more likely to occur. Unfortunately, stress may be the culprit for your gingivitis. When your heart rate and blood pressure go up, you breathe air from the mouth instead of from the nose. When breathing from your mouth, you’re more likely to accrue bacteria. 

A 2021 study published in the Nationa Library of Medicine found that stress increases the risk of gingivitis by making your saliva less viscous. The loss of saliva decreases your body’s ability to remove bacteria from your mouth. As a result, gum inflammation and plaque occur when plaque builds up. 

Stress has other side effects that can affect your mouth in different ways. For example, it can cause you to grind your teeth at night. Unfortunately, this wears down your tooth enamel. And it exposes your gums to harmful plaque. You may prevent tooth grinding using a night guard. JS Dental discusses how a night guard device can prevent teeth grinding and other oral health problems. 

3. Diet

Nutrition is crucial for maintaining good oral health. You should have healthy food choices at every meal, especially for breakfast and lunch. A diet high in sugar, salt, and refined carbohydrates increases your risk for gingivitis. The reason why is that foods like these are more acidic. Because your mouth is acidic, you can keep your teeth and mouth healthy by limiting or cutting out sugary foods. 

It’s best to find a diet you like that doesn’t include sugary foods. When transitioning, try swapping sweet treats for fruits and vegetables instead. Foods that are high in vitamin C can also help to reduce the risk of gingivitis. So, eat plenty of oranges, broccoli, and bell peppers.

4. Age and Genes

The older you are, the more likely you are to get gingivitis. This is because your immune system slows down with age. So, it’s harder for your body to detect and fight against flare-ups of gingivitis. 

Some people are also genetically predisposed to gingivitis. If you’re prone, you may experience symptoms younger than others. 

For example, some individuals may experience more noticeable symptoms of gingivitis in their 30s or 40s rather than in their 50s or 60s. Dental work and genetics can also affect your chances of developing gingivitis. For example, if your family has a history of gum disease, you may be more at risk. This also is true even if you haven’t begun to show any symptoms yet. 

5. Medications

Some medications can make gingivitis more likely to occur. The reason why medications result in gingivitis is that a mouth becomes dry. Plus, your mouth becomes more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. It’s important to talk to your health care provider about taking medication. Let them know if you’re at risk for developing oral health problems. They can give you guidance on how to prevent or treat gingivitis. 


To prevent gingivitis, it’s essential to practice good oral hygiene and brush your teeth twice a day. Your gums may get sore, swollen, or bleed while brushing or flossing. If that should happen, it’s best to speak with your dentist. 

You should also drink water throughout the day. Staying hydrated keeps your mouth hydrated and your saliva viscous. Remember, a dry mouth can exacerbate symptoms of gingivitis.

Follow these tips to ensure you maintain a healthy mouth. By keeping up with your oral health, you can do your best to avoid gingivitis in the future!