Gum disease is one of the main causes for senior tooth loss, but it does not have to be that way. Gum disease can be prevented if you handle your oral health care appropriately. Even if you have lost some of your flexibility and cannot reach the far areas of your mouth or you lose the ability to remember when the last time was that you brushed your teeth, there are ways to get help so that you ensure the health of your mouth for the rest of your life. Gum disease does become more common during a person’s senior year, but for reasons that can be prevented.
The Issues as you Age
Aging comes with a variety of changes, including the needs for medications to manage illnesses, hormone changes, and a change in abilities. Gum disease can occur as a result of each of these changes for the following reasons:
- If your medication causes a change in the production of saliva, your mouth harbors more bacteria, which puts your gums at greater risk for disease
- If your hormones begin to change, especially for menopausal women, your gums become more susceptible to disease due to the change in blood flow to the gums
- If your diet changes as a result of changing taste buds, inability to prepare and cook foods as before, or simply out of poor choices, gum disease can be a risk.
As you age, keeping your regular check-up and cleaning appointments every six months is the best way to ensure that you do not suffer from gum disease or if you do that it is caught in its earliest stage. Gingivitis, which is the first stage of gum disease, is reversible, while periodontitis, the advanced stage, is not. You can get help with proper cleanings, advice on how to manage your diet, and ways to make your oral hygiene easier in order to put the risks of gum disease and subsequent tooth loss behind you just by keeping up with your regular dental appointments as you age.