If You’re 55 or Older…
If you’re 55 or older your chances of developing periodontal disease increase considerably.
More than half of people aged 55 and older have periodontitis. The good news is that research suggests that these higher rates may be related to risk factors other than age. So, periodontal disease is not an inevitable part of aging. Risk factors that may make older people more susceptible include general health status, diminished immune status, medications, depression, worsening memory, diminished salivary flow, functional impairments and change in financial status.
To help protect your oral health, keep these things in mind:
- Reduced saliva flow is a common problem among older adults. Hundreds of medications (such as high blood pressure drugs, diuretics, decongestants and antidepressants), as well as medical disorders, can cause dry mouth. Dry mouth can make you more susceptible to tooth decay and periodontal disease. Be sure to tell Dr. Farber and his team about any medications that you are taking, including herbal remedies and over-the-counter medications. Your dental professional can recommend various methods to restore moisture, including sugarless gum, oral rinses or artificial saliva products.
- Many older adults have receding gums. Receding gums leave the roots of the teeth exposed, making tooth roots vulnerable to decay and periodontal disease. To keep your teeth for a lifetime, we at Farber Center For Periodontics & Dental Implants recommend removing the plaque from your teeth and gums every day with proper brushing and flossing. At least twice a year, a professional cleaning is necessary to remove calculus from places your toothbrush and floss may have missed. Dr. Farber may recommend treatment options to cover exposed roots and prevent further periodontal problems.
- Medical conditions associated with aging, such as diabetes and osteoporosis, may increase your risk of periodontal disease. In addition, memory problems may lead to lessened oral hygiene. And, arthritis can make brushing and flossing more difficult. Talk to Dr. Farber about your health history. He can make recommendations specific to your condition.
- Women who are menopausal or post-menopausal may experience discomfort in the mouth, including pain and burning sensations in the gum tissue, altered taste, receding gums, and dry mouth. These changes, attributed to hormonal reduction, can leave you more susceptible to periodontal disease. Estrogen supplements may help to relieve these symptoms. Talk to the team at Farber Center For Periodontics & Dental Implants about any oral changes you may have noticed.
- As you age, remember that it’s more important than ever to seek regular dental care. With good preventative home care and regular professional cleanings and periodontal evaluations, you can keep your teeth for a lifetime.