Dental problems for the very young mostly consists of dental decay and can result in prematurely losing teeth, but tooth loss in the elderly is usually attributed to gum disease. In fact, according to a government report, nearly one in five adults over the age of 65 are edentulous, meaning they have lost all of their teeth. Among those 75 years old and older, the number increases to as many as 26% of the population.
Why Gum Disease is Prevalent in Older Adults
There are many reasons why the elderly are more susceptible to gum disease. Certain aspects of the natural aging process make it easier for the bacteria to accumulate and cause problems. One common condition found in older adults is receding gums. This is often due to poor or inadequate oral care.
There are also medications that can fuel the development of gum disease and the elderly tend to take more medications. Medicines used for depression and heart conditions often cause dry mouth, which increases vulnerabilities to gingivitis.
Certain medical conditions also increase the incidence of gum disease. Among the most common are diabetes, cardiovascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis. These diseases affect the inflammatory response of the body and can lead to oral health problems.
Sometimes the elderly do not get the nutrition they need. Whether eating poorly is a result of finances, ability to prepare nutritious meals or other causes, the lack of nutrition, especially Vitamin C intake, can lead to bleeding gums and advanced periodontitis.
In some cases, gum disease is a function of an individual’s inability to care for themselves, memory problems, depression or other physical or mental issues. Some elderly individuals are not able to practice good oral hygiene due to physical issues such as severe tremors. Some do not have access to adequate dental care.
Remedies to Minimize Gum Disease in the Elderly
There are steps that can be taken to help lower the probability of developing gum disease for elderly individuals. First, being aware of the possibility and causes are important. Electronic toothbrushes and flossing devices can be used to help keep teeth clean. Staying hydrated is another important step. Limiting those foods and beverages that are dehydrating will also help.
Providing regular dental checkups and professional cleaning can help with managing gum disease and prevent it from becoming a serious problem. Just Brush My Teeth is an ideal place to receive periodic professional teeth cleaning to help keep dental problems at bay. Contact us to schedule an appointment and help the elderly people in your life maintain a healthy oral environment.