If you see your dentist twice a year, brush your teeth twice a day and floss after every meal, you're doing what you need to do to protect your teeth. However, you might not be doing everything you can to protect your gums. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. It's also a condition that can be prevented with proper preventative care.

While your family dentist can take care of your teeth and diagnose early signs of gum disease, if you belong to a danger group – one that has a higher risk of developing gum disease – you need to be seeing a periodontist, a dentist who specializes in the care and prevention of gum disease. Here are three groups that should be seeing a periodontist.

Family History of Gum Disease

If gum disease runs in your family, you should receive screenings from a periodontist. Studies have shown that certain genetic markers can create a predisposition for developing gum disease. If your parents, grandparents, or siblings have been diagnosed with any type of gum disease, including gingivitis or periodontitis, you should schedule an appointment with a periodontist as soon as possible.

Tobacco Use

If you smoke, you run a greater risk of developing gum disease. This is because smoking causes a problem between bone attachments and soft tissues in your mouth. The more you smoke, the more difficult it is for the healthy cells in your gums to do their job properly. When that happens, your gums become swollen, bleed and pull away from your teeth. When gums recede, you have a greater risk of developing tooth decay, as well. If you smoke, you should receive routine screenings from your periodontist.


If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you have an increased risk of developing gum disease. One of the reasons for this increased risk is because diabetes makes it difficult for your body to fight infections. Unfortunately, if you have diabetes, gum disease makes it difficult for your body to control blood sugar, which can cause further health problems for you. One way to protect yourself is to make sure you keep your diabetes under control. You should also see your periodontist at least once a year.

Gum disease is an oral health issue that can lead to premature tooth loss. If you are included in any of the risk groups described above, you should schedule an appointment with a periodontist as soon as possible. With proper care, the effects of gum disease can be prevented or reduced. To find out more, speak with someone like Periodontal Specialists