Elders are at a higher risk of periodontal disease than younger people, and if you fall into certain categories, you may be at an ever higher risk than many of your peers. Ideally, everyone should have an oral exam at least once or twice per year, but if you fall into any of the following categories, you should definitely not skip your dental appointments, and you should be screened by a periodontist to ensure you get the care you need as quickly as possible. Talk to a professional like Dr Edmond Lobaza if you're experiencing a bulk of the following.
1. You have osteoporosis
If you suffer from osteoporosis, your bones are likely brittle and weak, and unfortunately, these qualities can spread to your gums. In fact, research shows that postmenopausal women who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis are 86% more likely to also develop periodontal disease.
2. You have poor health in general
Osteoporosis is not the only health issue associated with an increased risk of periodontal disease. A great deal of research links oral health with your general health and suggests a correlation between periodontal disease and a range of issues including diabetes, heart disease, pneumonia and some types of arthritis.
If you do not have any of those issues, you may still be at risk. Look at how quickly your wounds heal to gauge your state of general well-being. If wounds take a long time to heal, you may be at risk.
3. You smoke
Regardless of what age you are, smoking increases your risk of gum diseases. If you smoke, consult with a periodontist about your mouth immediately and try to quit smoking.
4. You grind your teeth
Grinding your teeth can be linked to periodontal disease. If you grind your teeth, it may also be an indicator of stress. Stress and other mental health issues can wreak havoc on your body and your gums.
Talk with your periodontist about a mouthguard to stop grinding your teeth, but also find ways to relax such as yoga, walking or meditation.
5. You have trouble brushing
Periodontal disease can be related to a buildup of plaque on your teeth. If you have trouble brushing because you cannot grip the brush or you have trouble getting to the bathroom on your own, you also are at a higher risk.
Your dentist can help you find ways to make brushing easier. For example, there are special toothbrushes designed with grips that are easy to hold even if arthritis makes it impossible to make a tight fist.