Gum disease is a common problem that is more common in the elderly than people of any other age group. It’s not that gum disease can’t be prevented, however. You don’t have to submit to someday suffering from gum disease as you proceed to age. There are plenty of things you can do to prevent and treat it. If you want to protect your oral health, you will want to educate yourself on preventative methods and ensure that you are doing your best to protect your teeth from gum disease. Here’s what you need to know:
Understanding what gum disease is
Gum disease is a condition when the tissues that hold your teeth in place are infected due to the build-up of plaque. Plaque can build up at the base of your teeth, growing under the gum line. When left untreated, over time, gum disease can permanently damage your gum tissues and may even result in tooth loss. The two main types of gum disease are gingivitis, which is the milder type, and periodontitis, which is more severe and difficult to treat.
Gingivitis may bring very little discomfort with minimal symptoms. It may not seem too bad, but what it implies is much worse. Because the symptoms of this type of gum disease are minimal, it can be difficult to tell if you have the condition at all. This is why it is crucial to go and see your dentist for regular check-ups. If gingivitis goes untreated, it can eventually become periodontitis, which is a lot more severe. Gum disease can be caused by several factors. You may be more at risk of developing gum disease if you have diabetes, if it has been passed down through genetics, if you are undergoing female hormonal changes, if you are aging, and if you are taking some medications that may reduce the production of saliva.
Symptoms to look for
Gum disease can easily go undiagnosed since there are minimal and mild symptoms. This is inconvenient since gum disease will certainly worsen with time, and treatments will be more complicated as the condition progresses. The sooner gum disease is diagnosed, the better. There are some early signs of gum disease that you need to look for such as swollen or red gums, bleeding, bad breath, loose or sensitive teeth, a receding gum line, and chewing pains. All of these symptoms should be looked at by a dentist as soon as possible.
Habits to kick that might make it worse
Gum disease is a slow-moving disease, so you want to be mindful of any bad habits that might contribute or worsen your symptoms. Bad habits may be making your mouth a better place for the development of gingivitis without your knowledge. Some habits that you might be engaging in that is deteriorating your oral health include forgetting to floss or brush daily, using improper techniques, not consuming enough vitamin C, using a toothbrush that is too hard, not using antiseptic mouthwash, and grinding your teeth. Changing these habits can bring back your oral health in no time. This is particularly important in older folks. Poor oral health will not only affect your teeth but your whole body.
Gum disease in seniors
When left untreated, gum disease can lead to bone loss, which can eventually lead to tooth loss. Although there are many options for those who have lost teeth as a result of gum disease, a replacement will certainly be expensive. And of course, it’s always better to take action with preventative methods. Gum disease is also linked to many other health problems. Seniors with weaker immune systems may be in danger of bacteria in your teeth transferring down to other parts of the body, increasing your risk of stroke or heart disease. A tooth infection can also lead to infection to the heart’s lining.
Your teeth have more of an impact on your overall health than you’d think. For that reason, it’s best to practice good oral hygiene habits and make a point of visiting your dentist regularly. This will ensure that your teeth are healthy and strong, even as you age!
The best way to preserve your pearly whites is to go to the dentist every six months to check for any potential issues that may be developing. Icon Dental Center is a dental office in Seattle, if you’re looking for a new local dentist in Seattle, come to visit us today!