Gum Disease in Seniors: What You Should Know
If you've seen any commercials for mouthwash in your life, chances are that you at least have a passing familiarity with gum disease and its effect on your oral health. Gum disease is actually so common that many people think it's just a natural part of aging, and that virtually all seniors will end up toothless at some point in their lives.
This isn't true -- the reality is that gum disease happens when tooth care is neglected for too long. When you fail to brush and floss properly, you put yourself at greater risk for gum disease, and that risk only increases as you age.
In order to stop gum disease in its tracks, you need two things: the assistance of a quality Fairbanks dentist and the knowledge of what gum disease is, and how it can be stopped. Here are a few things you need to know!
What Causes Gum Disease?
For the most part, gum disease is caused by a failure to properly brush teeth and floss them on a regular basis. When you don't brush and floss as often as you should, you allow bacteria to remain in your mouth, and the harmful bacteria you have in your mouth flock to your teeth and gums. Over time, they can form pockets in your gums, causing your gums to recede and leaving your teeth less protected. If your gums recede far enough, you'll find yourself losing teeth — a very unpleasant thought.
What Are the Symptoms?
Knowing that you have gum disease is the first step toward fighting back against the problem and finding a solution to it. If your gums are swollen on a regular basis and it hurts you to touch them, that's a sign that you've got a case of gum disease. So is blood in the sink when you brush or floss, as it's coming from your gums bleeding in the face of the bristles of either your brush or the string in your flossing instrument.
Another bad sign is seeing more of your teeth than you did before. When you can see more of the roots of your teeth, it's because your gums have receded and don't protect as much of your teeth as they once did. That's a major issue that can lead to more serious diseases, as your gums are a breeding ground for bacteria.
How Can I Fight Back?
Getting the right foods in your diet, eliminating tobacco from your routine, choosing the right toothbrush and toothpaste and making sure to actually brush regularly are your best ways to battle back against gum disease and even reverse some of the damage that gum disease has caused you over time.
You can also schedule regular cleanings with your dentist to get rid of plaque and other harmful bacteria. Enamel can't be regained when it's lost, so the best strategy is to keep yourself from ever losing it from your teeth. The better you can protect it, the better your mouth will be.
Gum disease can cause serious issues to seniors as they try to navigate the pitfalls of aging, but the good news is that you don't have to fight this disease on your own. Taking small steps for your oral care goes a long way toward developing them into good habits, and getting a Fairbanks dentist that you can trust with your teeth is the first of those steps. Once you select a dentist, all it takes is a little work and you can keep your teeth where they belong: in your mouth! For more information, contact the North Pole Dental Workshop today.