Gum disease is all too common throughout people of all ages, but did you know that older people are actually more susceptible to the disease than any other age demographic? In this article, we will begin looking at the reasons as to why elderly people are more likely to develop gum disease, and what can be done to prevent gum disease occurring.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is the result of a lack of oral hygiene and build up of acidic bacteria within the mouth. If left untreated, this bacteria will form a sticky film along the teeth, known as plaque. The plaque will then begin attacking the gums and teeth, which can lead to cavities, abscesses and eventually gum disease. Gum disease can cause sore and bleeding gums, problems with chewing and even result in the loss of teeth.
Gum disease in the elderly
As you age, you become more susceptible to developing gum disease. This is because gum disease takes a long period of time to develop, and there is less saliva produced when you age, meaning not as much food debris and bacteria is either broken down or washed away. The absence of this creates a perfect condition for gum disease to begin thriving.
There are many tell-tale signs that gum disease is starting to develop within your mouth, and they are quite noticeable. These include:
- Swollen, inflamed, or red gums.
- Gums bleeding, either through brushing or by themselves.
- Loose teeth.
- Bad breath.
- Gum line is receding from teeth.
- Painful chewing.
These are all some of the common symptoms that come with gum disease, however there are habits and traits that can have a further detrimental affect on your gums and teeth. Smoking, brushing too hard (or not enough,) bruxism, and not utilising mouthwash / floss can all help gum disease develop, especially at an older age.
Gum disease doesn’t just stop at tooth loss though, in fact if left to progress long enough, it can bring about bone loss around the teeth and jaw, leading to facial sagging. It can also increase the risk of developing heart disease, strokes and can make diabetes worse.
Reducing the chances of developing gum disease
Gum disease isn’t necessarily a long-lasting infection. In fact, with the proper attention to your oral hygiene and diet, you can drastically reduce the chances of you developing gum disease, no matter what age you are.
Regular dental check-ups, frequent and thorough brushing / flossing, along with getting the right brushing technique will all help defend your mouth against gum disease, whilst keeping your mouth healthy too.
If you are in need of gum disease treatment, why not get in contact with Ascent Dental Care Loughborough, to see how we can help you!