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How Can Older Adults Develop Gum Disease?

November 10, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — spillmanfd @ 10:37 pm
Gum disease

Gum disease is an unpleasant experience at any age, but it becomes more common after the age of sixty. While receding gums are the dental ailment most frequently found in older patients, other gum-related issues are also prevalent among that age group. However, these issues are often caused more by many years of poor oral hygiene than age. Here are a few common gum issues among seniors along with a few ways they can be treated.

What Makes Elderly People More Vulnerable to Gum Disease?

The teeth of elderly people have been chewing for quite a while, and they can eventually begin to show their wear. However, gum disease in elderly people often has a lot to do with habits and genetics. A few factors that can contribute to gum disease in seniors include:

  • Medication use: Elderly people are often prescribed medications, and some of these medicines can have side effects that aren’t conducive to oral health, such as dry mouth. Many years of taking these drugs can take their toll on a person’s gums.
  • Hormonal imbalances resulting from menopause: Hormone imbalances during menopause can lead to a painful type of gum disease called desquamative gingivitis.
  • Substance use: Alcohol and tobacco habits can increase the risk of developing gum disease.
  • Poor health: Elderly people who deal with issues that disrupt the body’s inflammatory responses such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and rheumatoid arthritis are more vulnerable to developing and have a harder time fighting off gum disease.
  • Nutrition problems: Tooth loss and decreased appetite can make it more difficult for seniors to get all the nutrients they need to maintain a healthy immune system. This makes it easier for them to develop oral infections.
  • Mental and physical health issues: Issues like depression, Alzheimer’s, and declining physical strength can make it more difficult for older patients to practice proper oral hygiene frequently enough, thereby increasing their risk of developing gum disease.

How Can Seniors Avoid Gum Disease?

There are a few common-sense solutions that can help stave off or even reverse gum disease in seniors. The first part is to consistently practice proper oral hygiene, which includes a daily regimen of brushing, flossing, and using antibacterial mouthwash. The second part is keeping up with regular dentist appointments so your teeth can benefit from professional attention and cleaning. The third part is to avoid things that can be harmful to your teeth, such as sugary foods and beverages, tobacco, and excessive alcohol consumption.

Healthy gums are a key part of anyone’s oral health, and taking care of them becomes even more important as a person gets older. With excellent oral hygiene and some good habits, you can keep your gums in great shape for life.

About the Practice

Spillman Family Dental of Rockwall provides the most excellent dental health services available in Rockwall, TX. Led by Drs. Travis Spillman and Nancy Nguyen, the staff takes pride in helping patients maintain beautiful smiles in a clean and friendly environment. Areas of expertise include general, restorative, cosmetic, and emergency dentistry in addition to periodontal treatments. For more information on keeping your gums healthy after age sixty, contact the office online or dial (972) 945-0887.

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