While tooth decay and gum disease are worldwide concerns that affect people of all ages, some dental conditions are more likely to occur as we age. Gum recession, gum disease, and jawbone degeneration are common oral conditions associated with maturity. Let’s look at these senior dental care issues one at a time.
Periodontal tissue (or gum tissue), combined with bone, provide support for teeth. Years of vigorous teeth brushing, smoking, or gum disease can cause gums to recede from teeth. Gum recession is more common in people over 40 years of age. The crowns of our teeth are covered with enamel, the hardest tissue in the body. The roots of teeth, however, are not coated with enamel. Receding gums can expose teeth roots and cause sensitivity to temperature and pressure.
Research shows that older people are more prone to gum disease and bone loss. Why? One study blames the level of Del- 1 in the body. Del- 1 is a protein that regulates immune-response by keeping white blood cells from attacking oral tissues – and Del- 1 decreases as we age. A UK study in mice showed that a lack of Del- 1 was accompanied by jawbone deterioration, significant gum disease, and a greater number of white blood cells in the mouth. Applying Del- 1 to the mice’s mouths reduced jawbone deterioration, gum disease, and the number of white blood cells in the mouth. (Source: Medical News Today)
Also called facial collapse, jawbone deterioration occurs when the body takes minerals from the jaw and uses them in other parts of the body. Most often, this occurs after tooth loss. Without teeth to stimulate the jawbone, the body redirects minerals for use elsewhere. A lack of sufficient minerals in the jaw results in jaw degeneration. The structure of the jaw literally begins to change. The classic appearance of someone who is undergoing facial collapse appears as a reduction of length from nose to chin and from ear to chin.
Age Gracefully with Dental Restoration
Maintaining healthy teeth, gums, and jawbone tissue will prevent facial collapse and the many problems that come with gum recession and tooth loss. However, if you suffer from receding gums or tooth loss and would like to discuss restorative procedures, schedule a consultation with Dr. Stewart today. At his Livonia dental office, Dr. Stewart provides a full scope of restorative dental care, as well as prosthetic and cosmetic dentistry. Call 734-425-4400 today to make an appointment. Our dentist office serves patients from Farmington Hills, Farmington, Plymouth, Northville, Dearborn, and surrounding towns.