Does Gum Disease Present Differently in Elderly Gums?
Gum disease is very common, especially in seniors. Oftentimes, it may seem that with all of the other medical issues that seniors face, oral health can fall to the wayside.
However, while gum disease is easily reversed if caught early, if left to advance, it can cause a host of dangerous side-effects, including heart attack and stroke. Intercepting this disease, therefore, is particularly important for the elderly.
Identifying Gum Disease in Seniors
Because seniors have naturally receding gums, they are at elevated risk for gum disease, as the bacteria can work its way up into the soft tissue and the bones much easier. Furthermore, combined with a weakened immune system, staying alert to any signs and symptoms of gum disease is vital to help protect the elderly.
Gum disease isn’t always painful, so it’s extra important to keep an eye out for any of the following:
- Swollen, red, puffy gums
- Bleeding when you brush or floss
- Gums seem softer than usual
- Turn a faded red color
- Are tender to the touch
Contrary to popular belief, tooth loss and gum disease are not a natural part of aging. Any changes to the oral health of a senior should be intercepted immediately to prevent permanent damage to the mouth, soft tissue, and bones.
Seniors can prevent gum disease by:
- Using a water flosser (as it can be easier to use than dental floss)
- Taking care to soak and clean dentures carefully every night
- Ensuring their dentures are properly fitted
- Treat dry mouth by avoiding caffeine and using sugar-free lozenges
- Avoiding tobacco in all forms
- Rinse after meals with an antimicrobial mouthwash
- Brush twice a day and floss daily
Regular visits to our office can also help aid in the prevention of gum disease. If you suspect that you or an elderly loved one is suffering from any stage of periodontal disease, please call our office right away to schedule an exam and cleaning. We are happy to assist in maintaining your oral health no matter how old you are!