Tooth loss: A major sign of aging
Growing older doesn’t have to be difficult. Anticipating even one aspect of aging can be a huge relief; one major cause of aging is tooth loss, which is completely preventable.
Our teeth are pretty resilient to any kind of cracks or chips throughout our life span. One of the major myths of our teeth is that they become more brittle with time. Of course more plaque builds up over time, but untreated periodontal disease is a major issue in older Americans. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, almost 20 percent of people age 65 and older have major tooth loss. Gums pull back from our teeth as we grow older; with this, comes vulnerability, decay and infection of both the teeth and gums.
There are many options for treating periodontitis or gum diseases. Before periodontitis comes into effect, gingivitis rears it ugly head.
Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease caused by a build up of plaque forming on the teeth from a lack of oral hygiene. The symptoms include red, swollen and bloody gums, bad breath, tender gums and mouth sores. A simple dental clean up, and regularly brushing teeth twice a day, as well as flossing will help deter gingivitis.
When gingivitis is untreated, it leads to periodontitis. Symptoms include receded gums, dry mouth, bad breath, loose teeth and a change in bite. The inner layer of the gums and bones will pull away from the teeth, and form pockets. This can lead to infection. Hormonal changes, medication and poor oral hygiene can also lead to periodontitis.
Periodontitis can be fixed non-surgically or with surgery. The non-surgery treatment includes scaling, root planing and gingival curettage. Surgery is only necessary when the periodontal disease has gone so far.
If you think you have gingivitis or periodontitis, call Wurzbach Parkway Family Dental to set up a consultation. Visit perio.org to learn more about periodontal treatments and procedures.