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Jason E. Wagle, DDS, MS

Mark A. Moxley, DDS

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Moxley Wagle Periodontics

825 South Hillside
Wichita, KS 67211-3099
Phone : 316-685-2731
Fax : 316-685-6946

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Tuesday - 8 am - 5 pm
Wednesday - 8 am - 5 pm
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Does Gum Disease Worsen with Age?

Posted on 7/5/2015 by Dr. Wagle
An elderly woman suffering from gum disease.Gum disease can be found in all age groups from toddlers with their first teeth to a senior that is 90 years old. Gum disease hits when plaque forms and bacteria gets in the gums. For those of a young age, gum disease most commonly comes from lack of good home dental care and having a poor diet. Regular brushing and flossing starting with that first tooth will take care of gum disease in this age group.

As people get older, the risk for gum disease increases. Only 3.6% of Americans from 18 to 34-years old have gum disease. As that group ages, over half will develop gingivitis around several teeth and 30% of those people will have significant gum disease around several teeth. After reaching 70 years of age, 86% of American adults will have gum disease with 25% of them losing teeth.

Why does Gum Disease get Worse with Age?

As we age our bodies change in many ways. It only makes sense that our teeth and gums would have changes too. The older you get, your gums tend to recede away from the tooth allowing for more area that plaque and bacteria can take hold. Many also suffer from medical conditions as they age. These medical conditions will affect the health of your mouth.

Let's say someone starts showing the signs of arthritis. It's painful to move and do the things they used to do. What does this have to do with gum disease? Plenty! Someone with arthritis may have difficulty holding a toothbrush or holding their arm up for the necessary time it takes to do a thorough cleaning. It becomes easier to do a quick brushing or even just a rinse with mouthwash. Plaque will build up and gum disease will start.

Medical conditions also mean medication. Many medications will address the health concern they were prescribed for but may have terrible side effects for your oral health. Diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis and any other autoimmune diseases have a higher risk of gum disease. When you are prescribed medication for any medical condition, it is important to discuss the medication with us so that we can determine the effects it may have on your oral health.

Daily Habits as we Age and the Relationship to Gum Disease

As people age, their eating habits change - older people don't normally eat as much as a younger person. Remember when you were in your early 20's and could eat 3 hamburgers, 2 hotdogs, an order of fries and a shake all in one sitting? That's not likely to happen when you are older. Because of a decrease in appetite a person may not bet getting the proper nutrients and vitamins necessary to maintain proper oral health.

Bad habits developed earlier in life may be rearing their ugly head at this stage of life. Smoking is one of the largest causes of gum disease. For someone in the later part of their life who has been smoking for years, the effects may start to take their toll. Alcohol consumption is another habit that can cause gum disease over time.

People who are in their late 70's to 90 may not have benefitted from dental care like we do today. We now have fluoride in our water to help keep our teeth strong and insurance for dental care is better so people are more apt to go to that very critical twice a year check up with their dentist. As you approach the golden years there isn't any reason why you can't continue to have a healthy mouth. Proper care and regular checkups are the key.

Call us today to get your dental health care back on track and to fight the risk of gum disease! Please call us at (316) 685-2731!

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