Sheridan Dentist Explains How Gums Age

As we grow older, our bodies become more susceptible to illness. Arthritis, heart-related issues, and dementia, among many others, seem to become more common among the older population than among their younger counterparts. Numerous studies have shown that oral health is no exception, and gum disease also seems more prevalent amid older generations. Dedicated Sheridan dentist Dr. Coon explains why your gums may suffer with age, and the steps you can take to help protect your oral health in your later years.

Age Progression and Gum Recession

A common telltale sign of gum disease is the recession of your gum tissue. When plaque, which is comprised almost entirely of oral bacteria, accumulates on your gum line, the germs release a toxin that irritates your gums and causes them to pull away. The germs also cause gum inflammation, and the swelling contributes to the destruction. As gum disease progresses, it eats away the connective tissue between your gums and teeth and the separation grows. Eventually, the destruction spreads through your gums and into your jawbone, which soon falls victim to deterioration as well.
However, gum recession does not always signify gum disease. Studies have shown that gums can also recede simply due to age and a lifetime of chewing, teeth-grinding, and other run-of-the-mill uses. Even when natural, however, gum recession can lead to advanced gum disease and possibly tooth loss. To help prevent gum recession, be sure to diligently practice good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once, careful to brush every surface of every tooth (especially at the gum line). Take care not to brush too harshly and to use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid further irritating your gum tissue. Also, attend your dental checkup and cleaning as often as Dr. Coon recommends to allow him the chance to detect and treat oral health issues before they progress.

Gum Disease and the Elderly

In an effort to determine why the older generations seem to develop gum disease easier than others, researchers from Queen Mary, University of London decided to study the phenomenon among young and old mice. Their experiments led to the discovery that instances of gum disease among the older mice were always accompanied by reduced levels of a protein called Del-1. This protein restrains your immune system and prevents the excessive inflammation of body tissue, including gums. The age and gum disease study may help experts in the future craft treatments, cures, and preventive measures for the development of gum disease, but also sheds light on why the elderly are more susceptible to the condition.

Excellent Dental Health for All Ages

To learn more about protecting your gums from recession and disease, or to speak with your Sheridan dentist, schedule a consultation at Grinnell Street Dental by contacting our Sheridan dentist office at (307) 672-7567. We welcome patients from Sheridan, WY and the surrounding communities.