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Aging and Gum Disease: What You Need to Know

April 24, 2024 Uncategorized

Gum disease is widespread. A large percentage of people will develop gum disease during their lifetime. While gum disease is more prevalent in seniors, it’s not necessarily an unavoidable part of aging.

As an Apex, NC dentist can explain, there are numerous things that you can do to both prevent and treat gum disease. Understanding the dangers and impact of gum disease and taking the proper precautions now will go a long way toward protecting your health down the road.

What Is Gum Disease?

The gums are the tissues that hold your teeth in place. Gum disease is an infection of this tissue. As tooth plaque builds up at the base of a tooth, it can start to grow beneath the gum line. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to permanent damage to the gum tissue and possibly even tooth loss.

There are two main types of gum disease. The first, called gingivitis, is of lesser severity. You can have gingivitis without noticing any discomfort or symptoms. And though you may not see or feel apparent signs of gum disease, it can sneak up on you.

That’s why it’s essential to visit Alliance Dentistry regularly. Each Apex, NC dentist from our practice can detect the gingivitis that you may not be aware of. The second type of gum disease, called periodontitis, is a more severe form of gum disease that may develop from untreated gingivitis.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Gum disease is caused by plaque buildup and typically results from poor oral hygiene. Dental plaque builds up at the base of a tooth and starts to grow beneath the gum line, leading to damage of the gum tissue. Several factors may increase your risk of developing gum disease, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Hormonal changes in women
  • Aging
  • Genetics
  • Medications that reduce saliva production

Gum disease takes time to develop and is more prevalent in older adults. As you age, it’s vital not to slack off on your dental care. One of the most effective ways to prevent gum disease is by brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily. This can keep plaque levels in check.

You should also see a qualified dentist in Apex, NC at Alliance Dentistry at least twice a year for a professional cleaning. During this appointment, we can remove both plaque and tartar, which is a form of hardened plaque. Tartar typically can’t be removed by at-home dental care.

The Dangers of Gum Disease for Older Adults

When gum disease is left untreated, it can lead to bone loss around the teeth. Indeed, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. And once seniors have lost some or all of their teeth,  they can experience many challenges. Although there are numerous options for tooth replacement, such as implants and dentures, these can be potentially painful and expensive procedures.

The best opportunity to preserve your ability to eat, smile, and talk without discomfort or struggle is to take good care of your teeth. Call today to schedule an appointment with an Apex, NC dentist so that we can evaluate your risk of gum disease.