Gum Disease in the Elderly

dental intraoral camera favorite plusGum disease is quite common. Nonetheless, there are lots of things that you can carry out to avoid gum disease. Awareness and taking the proper precautions will go a long way toward protecting your oral health. 

Gum problems arise from an infection of the tissues that support your teeth. As plaque develops at the base of the tooth, it can start growing below the gum line. Eventually, untreated gum disease can lead to permanent damage of the gum tissue and may even cause tooth loss.

There are two dominant types of gum disease — gingivitis and periodontitis. You may have gingivitis without feeling any discomfort or evident symptoms. Periodontitis is a more oppressive form of gum disease that may develop when gingivitis goes untreated.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Gum disease is a result of plaque buildup that derives from inadequate oral hygiene. The most productive way to prevent gum disease is by brushing at least twice a day and regular flossing.

You must also see your dentist at least twice a year for efficient cleaning. Your dentist will remove both plaque and tartar, which you cannot remove by brushing and flossing.

Various factors may increase your risk of developing gum disease. These include age, genetics, and medications that reduce saliva production among others.

Since gum disease takes time to develop, it is more prevalent in older people.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Treatment for gum disease gets harder as the condition progresses. The sooner you diagnose your gum disease, the bigger your chances of fixing the problem.

There are symptoms to potential gum disease that you should be wary of. Common signs of gum disease include:

  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums, particularly when you brush
  • Loose teeth
  • Pain when chewing
  • Receding gum line
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Swollen or red gums

You must visit your dentist right away if you have any of these symptoms.

Bad Habits That Make Gum Disease Worse

If you are not mindful of your habits, you may be creating an environment that is conducive to gingivitis or periodontitis. You are adding to your chances of developing gum disease as you age if you:

  • Brush your teeth less than twice a day
  • Don’t consume enough Vitamin C
  • Forget to floss daily
  • Grind your teeth
  • Practice improper brushing and flossing techniques
  • Rinse with water only (an antiseptic rinse is ideal)
  • Smoke
  • Use a toothbrush that is too hard

Adjusting your habits in these areas can lead to better dental health, especially if you are already old. Poor dental health does not only impact your teeth. It can also affect other parts of your body.

The Dangers of Gum Disease for the Elderly

Untreated gum disease can result to bone loss around the teeth. It is why gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. Although there are many options to help you compensate for lost teeth, these can come with high costs and agonizing procedures. An excellent way to preserve your ability to eat, smile, and talk is to take good care of your teeth.

Gum disease may cause other problems with your health. The bacteria in your mouth can cross to other parts of your body and lead to heart disease or stroke. Infection of the tooth can result to an infection of the heart’s lining in some cases. Gum disease can also make diabetes get worse.

Ways to Cut Down Your Risk of Gum Disease

Fortunately, there are several ways of reducing your chance of having gum disease as you age.

Consult your dentist on the best technique to use when brushing. The method and consistency of your brushing are essential to your oral health. One way to lessen your chances of having gum disease is to clean at a 45-degree angle to your gums while brushing in small oblique movements.

Call on your dentist at least twice a year for regular checkups and cleaning. If you have gingivitis, you may have to visit your dentist every three to four months for cleaning. 

Floss your teeth to clean the spaces in between your teeth as plaque can get stuck in between them.

If you have concerns or questions about gum disease, see your dentist to talk it over.

There are plenty of treatment options for gum disease in the elderly that can manage the condition and minimize its lasting damage. Consistently schedule regular appointments with your dentist to screen for gum disease. If you begin noticing symptoms of gum disease between regular cleanings, make an appointment to have this problem addressed.

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One Response to Gum Disease in the Elderly

  1. Jade Roberts says:

    Since it is painless until the advanced stage, gum disease is a common dental problem in a lot of people, particularly among the elderly. Regular dental check ups are important not only for children but also for the elderly. Thanks for the insight.

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