Gum Disease and Seniors
Gum disease is a common but potentially serious condition that will affect at least 70% of Canadians at some point during their lives. It is most common among seniors however, and in the worst case scenario, it can lead to bone loss in the jaw and tooth loss.
What is Gum Disease?
There are two types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis (gingivitis can lead to periodontitis if it goes untreated). Gum disease occurs when plaque builds up underneath the gum line, and the gum tissue becomes infected. At first, there may not be any symptoms, but as the condition progresses, it can result in swollen and bleeding gums, bad breath, pain when chewing, a receding gum line and even loose teeth.
Factors That Contribute to Gum Disease
While poor oral hygiene is the main reason that people get gum disease, there are other factors that can increase the chances of getting it. These include smoking, teeth grinding, using a toothbrush that is too hard, genetics, certain medications, hormonal changes in women as well as age.
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Since gum disease is caused by plaque, the best way to prevent gum disease is to prevent plaque build-up. This is done by brushing your teeth at least once a day and regular flossing. Once plaque hardens into tartar, you will not be able to remove it yourself, which is why it is also important to see your dentist at least twice a year for regular cleanings and check-ups.
Gum Disease and Seniors.
While anyone can get gum disease, it is something more commonly seen in seniors and it is the main reason why some older people lose their teeth. Furthermore, gum disease can contribute to other health problems in seniors, especially if they have a compromised immune system since bacteria from the infection can travel into the bloodstream. Gum disease has been linked to both heart attack and stroke.
If gum disease goes untreated, it can result in bone loss in the jaw, which can cause tooth loss. And although, there are many ways that the problem of missing teeth can be addressed (implants, dentures, etc.), the best and healthiest option is to take care of your dental health so that you can keep your natural teeth for as long as possible.
If you would like more information on how to prevent gum disease – or if you think you may already have it and need to seek treatment, contact Marble Dental today.