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Why Do Older Adults Get Gum Disease?

April 12, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — drsmith @ 9:59 pm
Gum disease

Gum disease is an insidious little menace that has an uncanny ability to sneak up on a person, and it becomes even more likely at older ages. In fact, gum recession is the dental ailment most frequently found in older people, giving rise to the term “long in the tooth.” While your risk of developing gum disease increases with age, it is not inevitable. Here are some of the reasons why older people develop gum disease and what you can do to prevent it.

What Age-Related Factors Can Lead to Gum Disease?

There are a variety of reasons why older people tend to deal with more gum disease. A few of these include:

  • Medication: Many prescription or over-the-counter medicines have the unfortunate side effect of dry mouth, which makes it harder for the mouth to clean itself and easier to develop gum disease. Many seniors take such medication to treat issues like heart conditions or depression.
  • Hormonal changes: Women undergoing menopause experience hormonal imbalances that make them more likely to develop desquamative gingivitis, a painful type of gum disease.
  • Bad habits: Many seniors have been using tobacco or drinking heavily for decades, both of which can cause damage to the gums over time and make it harder for them to heal and fight infections.
  • Illnesses: Seniors are more likely to have systemic disorders such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or cardiovascular diseases. These conditions make them more prone to oral health issues.
  • Poor nutrition: As appetite decreases with age, many seniors have a hard time getting the nutrition their bodies need to fight off gum disease.
  • Hygiene difficulties: Seniors with depression or mobility issues may have a harder time brushing and flossing, which makes them much more likely to develop gingivitis.

How Can Gum Disease Be Prevented in Seniors?

To prevent gum disease, seniors should take care to eat right, practice excellent oral hygiene, avoid smoking or drinking excessively, and manage their health conditions effectively. While many seniors may have difficulty with oral hygiene, a few ways to make it easier include using an electric toothbrush that does many of the necessary motions for them or using a desensitizing toothpaste to make the process more comfortable. It’s also important to continue seeing your dentist regularly as you age, as this allows a professional to monitor and thoroughly clean your teeth and gums.

Old age doesn’t have to get the best of your smile. With the proper care and precautions, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy for life.

About the Practice

21st Century Dental of Irving offers the finest dental care available in Irving, TX. Led by Drs. Jeff Roy, Ashley Bristow, and Allison Veytsman, the staff ensures that each patient receives the care they deserve in a warm and welcoming environment. Areas of expertise include general, cosmetic, emergency, and restorative dentistry such as gum disease treatments. If you’re concerned about gum disease, contact the office online or dial (972) 255-3712.

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