Dental researchers have known that gum disease is aggravated by poor home care (lack of brushing and flossing adequately) and smoking. New research has shown heavy bite forces are even more damaging, and can cause an increase in destruction to the bone and gums that support the teeth.
Simply put, our bite is a lot like the gears in an automobile. If the teeth all mesh together with even forces, no damage occurs. Unfortunately this seldom occurs. Most of us have minor misalignments of our bite that can put unhealthy forces on the teeth. The teeth are designed like this: ideally, the chewing forces want to go straight down the long axis of the teeth.
If your teeth are even slightly out of alignment, they can hit on the sides of the cusps, causing the forces on the teeth to push them sideways. It is these sideways forces that jar the teeth and cause destruction of the gum tissue and bone that support the teeth. We also see these forces cause the teeth to break and crack.
These misalignments are very subtle and easily overlooked. A dentist with training in this field can help you determine if your bite is part of cause of long standing gum disease.