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The Dangers Of Gum Disease For Seniors

Gum disease or periodontal disease is a common condition affecting approximately 47 percent of adults in the United States. Your risk of developing gum disease increases with age, but it’s not inevitable. There are a number of measures you can take to help prevent and effectively treat gum disease, including making regular visits to our orlando dentist office for required dental services as well as achieving and maintaining great oral health.

Thornton Park Dental Arts offers this guide for seniors so they can understand and take the proper precautions against periodontal disease. Contact us to learn more and to schedule a dentist appointment.

Senior With Gum Disease

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease, also commonly referred to as periodontitis, is a serious gum infection that affects the tissues which hold your teeth in place. As plaque accumulates at the base of a tooth, it can begin to grow beneath the gum line, leading to gum disease, and potentially permanent damage to the gum tissue, tooth decay, and even tooth loss.

The following factors may increase your risk of developing gum disease.

  • Diabetes
  • Genetics
  • Hormonal changes
  • Increasing age
  • Medications that reduce saliva production

There are two primary types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease, and individuals may have it without experiencing discomfort or noticeable symptoms. Periodontitis, however, is a more severe form of gum disease that can develop when gingivitis goes untreated, which is why routine dental checkups are so important. Contact our Orlando dentists for professional gum care tips and to schedule a dental appointment.

Why Is Gum Disease More Common In Older Adults?

Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque that usually results from poor oral hygiene habits. In addition to neglecting at-home oral care, avoiding going to the dentist twice each year for professional dental cleanings can likewise lead to gingivitis and periodontitis. Gum disease takes time to develop, which is why it’s naturally more prevalent in older adults and seniors than younger individuals. As we age, gum health is of particular importance, as untreated gum disease can lead to bone loss around the teeth, which is the leading cause of tooth loss. Seniors who lost either some or all of their teeth can face a wide range of health struggles.

While there are many options, including partial and full dentures as well as implant-supported dentures, to help patients compensate for lost teeth, the best way to preserve your ability to eat, talk, and smile is to take great care of your teeth. Common signs of gum disease include the following.

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

If you experience any of these issues, contact our dentists right away. Our dental team has extensive experience to help restore your gums to a healthy state.

What Are The Health Risks Of Gum Disease?

In addition to tooth loss, there are several other health conditions linked to gum disease. In seniors with weak immune systems, bacteria in the mouth can travel to other parts of the body and increase their risk of stroke and heart disease. Periodontitis can even infect the heart’s lining. Patients with gum disease and diabetes should likewise be mindful, as problematic gums can exacerbate diabetes. While it can potentially help save your natural teeth, gum disease treatment can become more difficult as the condition progresses. The sooner your gum disease is diagnosed, the better your chances of restoring your gum and oral health. Visit our dental office in Orlando for an assessment of your dental health and learn how to best prevent and manage periodontal disease.

Can Gum Disease Be Prevented?

Yes! Gum disease can be prevented, even in seniors. Luckily, there are several ways of reducing your chance of having gum disease as you age. Among them, the most important is visiting your periodontist in Orlando twice each year for regular checkups and dental cleanings. Those with gingivitis may need to visit us more frequently for cleanings. At home, patients should brush their teeth twice each day, floss regularly to remove plaque from between the teeth, avoid smoking or using chewing tobacco, and eat a well-balanced diet. When you visit your dentist, Dr. Angulo can offer advice regarding the best techniques for flossing, bruising, and taking care of your smile outside of the office. Contact us today to discuss your dental health and to schedule a dental appointment.