The chances of dental problems such as gum disease increases with age, and so it’s especially important for seniors to see their dentist on a regular basis – especially in the event of pain or sensitivity. Smile On Dental Salon & Sleep Apnea Center offers a full suite of senior dental services, including gum disease diagnosis and treatment.
What Is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection caused by plaque build-up along the gum line. The longer it goes untreated, the more serious the consequences. The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, which or may not come with symptoms – a dangerous proposition for people who neglect going to a dentist who could spot the problem. Unaddressed gingivitis can eventually become periodontitis, a serious disease that could result in permanent damage to the gum tissue, as well as tooth loss.
What Are The Signs?
Surprisingly, around 20% of Americans have undiagnosed gum disease. Seniors comprise a good portion of this number due to the natural aging process and the corresponding decline in the body’s healing rate. Several signs are associated with the onset of gum disease, and seniors experiencing any of these should visit our local dentist immediately:
- Red/swollen/bleeding gums
- Sensitive/loose teeth
- Bad breath
- Receding gum line
- Pain when chewing
Certain habits can exacerbate or hasten the onset of gum disease and the symptoms listed above. These habits include the usual suspects like smoking, poor oral care, and teeth-grinding, as well slightly more obscure traits such as not consuming enough vitamin C, or only rinsing with water instead of an antiseptic.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Gum disease is the #1 cause of tooth loss, brought about by a depletion of bone around the affected teeth. Replacing these lost teeth is often painful and costly, especially for seniors. Worse still is the fact that gum disease is linked to numerous other health problems, especially when the sufferer has a weak immune system or diabetes. It’s possible for the diseased bacteria in the mouth to enter other parts of the body through the bloodstream, and in the absence of a strong defense system lead to potentially fatal problems like heart disease and stroke.
For seniors, proper diagnosis of gum disease necessitates regular oral exams, dental x-rays, and a thorough review of the patient’s health history – including not just the teeth but the rest of the body too. If the dentist detects the presence of gingivitis, then the primary course of treatment is to accelerate the rate of yearly cleanings to around 3 – 4 per year. During this time, the dentist will work to reduce and eliminate the amount of plaque and tartar present in your teeth, with the desired result being a mouth that’s free of gingivitis and at minimal risk for future episodes of gum disease.
Experienced Dental Care For All Ages
Smile On Dental Salon & Sleep Apnea Center strives to educate all of its patients on the importance of good oral health habits, regular dental exams, and gum disease treatment. To learn more about steps you can take on your own to maintain a healthy mouth, contact our specialists today.