Don’t Let Aging Destroy Your Gums!

Tooth decay and gum disease are both incredibly common, and as we age the chances of experiencing one or the other continues to increase. By some estimates over 70 percent of people over the age of 65 suffer from periodontal diseases! Your gums are a very important part of your oral health and if they are damaged due to gum disease your risk of tooth loss increases as well!

At our Millburn dentist office we see countless patients experiencing gingivitis and gum disease and the statistics hold true: many of them are older! It isn’t just a matter of “dodging the bullet” for years and years until it catches up to you: studies have shown that your body’s ability to fight off infection actually decreases as you age! That’s why it’s so important to ensure your gums remain healthy as you age!

What Causes Gum Disease?

Like most oral health problems, gum disease is caused by plaque. You know that sticky, white, filmy stuff on your teeth? That’s plaque. It contains countless bacteria that love to eat the sugars in your diet, and when they do they produce tooth-damaging acids. These acids usually attack your teeth, but if plaque gets below your gumline it can grow without you being able to stop it! The bacteria in plaque can irritate and infect your gums, causing redness, inflammation, bleeding, and eventually gum recession!

If gum disease gets serious enough you can even end up losing teeth! Your gums can pull away from your roots and leave your teeth with little support. This can begin a chain reaction of lost teeth, completely destroying your smile!

How Is Aging A Concern?

No matter how well you care for your teeth there is still the possibility of periodontal disease. Add to the fact that aging has been found to lessen immune system response and you have a recipe for dental disaster!

Inflammation of the gums is a sign that periodontal disease is starting to take hold, but inflammation is still a good thing: it’s your body’s way of trying to fight infection and protect a wound! Unfortunately, inflammatory responses lessen as you age. Without red, swollen gums as a tell-tale sign of early gum disease we can’t diagnose and treat it as fast!

There are other factors that make gum disease potentially more dangerous for older patients, or for those concerned about their oral health as they age.

  • Medications for contraception, heart health, and even antidepressants can have negative effects on your oral health! The longer you take these medications the more severe they can be!
  • Tooth wear due to grinding, clenching, and excessive force can lead to gum tissue damage. If your teeth are constantly being subjected to forces they can slightly move, loosening the gums and allowing bacteria to sneak in!
  • Tobacco use is considered one of the strongest contributors to periodontal disease. Smoking subjects your mouth to countless destructive chemicals as well as drying it out. A moist mouth is key in preserving your oral health!
  • Other diseases that interfere with your body’s inflammatory responses can have an effect on the longevity and health of your gums. Diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease can all mess with the regulation of inflammation in your body: that includes your gums!

What Can I Do To Protect Myself?

Aging concerns and complications don’t have to destroy your oral health; our Millburn dentist office has several solutions available to you! If you are already suffering from periodontal disease or are worried you might be we can diagnose and treat you using our LANAP laser procedure. You’ll get non-surgical gum disease treatment using state-of-the-art dental lasers!

If your gums are still healthy we encourage you to keep them that way! This is best done by disciplined brushing and flossing habits, but that isn’t all: you need to get regular six-month dental cleanings as well! There are spots in your teeth that are impossible to reach with a toothbrush and floss, so let the professionals take it from there! Not only will we be keeping you cavity and gum-disease free, we also perform a full comprehensive dental exam to find and diagnose problems before they become serious!

Regular professional dental care is an essential part of maintaining a healthy mouth. If you’re ready to ensure you have a natural, healthy smile for years to come call Millburn Dental Arts today at (973) 957-1604! You can also request an appointment right here online by filling out our appointment request form. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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