Gum disease is a kind of infection that affects a person’s gums, the soft tissue that holds teeth in place, often resulting in inflammation. If left untreated, gum disease can cause permanent damage to a person’s gums and may result in tooth loss. Unfortunately, gum disease is not uncommon and is even more prevalent in seniors. Understanding gum disease, the risks it poses, and how to identify its symptoms are key to preventing this unfortunate ailment. Below, our Gainesville dental clinic outlines everything seniors need to know about gum disease.

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The Dangers Of Gum Disease For Seniors

Untreated gum disease can permanently damage one’s teeth or even result in tooth loss. In fact, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. Losing teeth can result in a myriad of complications, including difficulty chewing food and altered speech. While there are restorative dental procedures that help ease complications from tooth loss, such as dentures and implants, it’s better to practice good oral hygiene and avoid gum disease in the first place.

What Causes Gum Disease?

In most cases, poor oral hygiene practices allow plaque to build up around the teeth, which can lead to gum disease. As gum disease takes time to develop, it tends to be more prevalent among older individuals. Bad habits that may cause gum disease to develop include smoking, grinding your teeth, forgetting to floss, and brushing less than twice a day. Additionally, several health conditions/factors can increase a person’s risk of gum disease. The following are a few factors that may add to a person’s chance of developing gum disease.

  • Taking Medications That Reduce Saliva Production
  • Diabetes
  • Hormonal Changes
  • Genetics

Gum Disease Symptoms

Gum disease becomes harder to treat as it progresses. Accordingly, diagnosing gum disease sooner can improve a person’s chances of avoiding unfortunate complications, such as permanent damage and tooth loss. Unfortunately, gum disease is often painless in its early stages, making it difficult to diagnose early. With that in mind, it’s best to remain vigilant for the symptoms of budding gum disease so you can seek treatment before it progresses. Look out for the following symptoms of gum disease:

  • Bad Breath
  • Bleeding Gums
  • Swollen Gums
  • Receding Gum Lines
  • Loose Teeth
  • Tooth Sensitivity

How To Prevent Gum Disease

Flossing and brushing your teeth at least twice a day is the most effective practice for preventing the development of gum disease. Additionally, visiting a dental professional at least twice a year for a routine cleaning and checkup can help prevent all manner of dental conditions. Regular cleanings allow your dentists to remove tartar and plaque building up around your teeth. If you have any questions or concerns about gum disease, don’t hesitate to contact Comprehensive Dental Care!