Gum Disease and Old Age

Gum disease occurs in 75% of the population and recent research demonstrates that people are more inclined to experience gum disease in senior years. It has been determined that a drop in the level of Del-1, a chemical in the oral cavity, is responsible for poor gum health in seniors.

The study results were founded based on research by the Queen Mary, University of London in collaboration with research groups in the USA.  The study results were published in Nature Immunology. The research investigated gum disease in young and old mice and found that an increase in gum disease and bone loss in the older animals coincided with a drop in the level of Del-1. This protein is known to restrain the immune system by preventing white blood cells from sticking to and attacking mouth tissue. When the researchers treated the gums of the mice with Del-1, the number of white blood cells dropped, and gum disease and bone loss were reduced. These findings suggest there may be new methods to treat gum disease.

In the meantime, a proactive approach to prevent gum disease is recommended for seniors, particularly for those who might have a more difficult time brushing and flossing. It is best to brush twice a day for two minutes each session while being certain to reach the gum line. Flossing is also essential to remove food debris caught between teeth. For those with gum disease, biofilm treatment is one of the latest treatments on the market to assist with keeping the oral cavity healthy. A select number of dentists across the U.S. offer biofilm treatment. People with gum disease may also require deep planing and root scaling treatment, laser and antibiotic therapy or periodontal surgery to prevent tooth loss from uncontrolled periodontal disease (gum disease).

If you are interested in general dentistry or cosmetic dentistry, contact Dr. Mark Sweeney, an Austin Texas cosmetic dentist, for a consultation at 512-380-1300.