Periodontal Disease in Older Adults

  • chronic bacterial infection in the mouth
  • can take place at any age however is prevalent in older grownups
  • generally starts with gingivitis: red and a little swollen gums triggered by build-up of plaque on the tooth if left without treatment, gingivitis might advance to “periodontitis”

Periodontal Disease in Older Adults

What are the symptoms of periodontitis?

  • tender, bleeding gums
  • painful chewing
  • chronic bad breath
  • teeth that are delicate to cold/heat
  • change in fit or convenience of partial dentures
  • declining gums
  • without treatment periodontitis may lead to destruction of gums and tissues that support teeth
  • teeth might become loose and if unattended tooth extraction might be needed

Also read: Gum Pain Between Teeth

Influence on physical health

  • gums retreat from the teeth and form pockets that become infected
  • body immune system fights the bacteria as plaque spreads and expands listed below gum line
  • bacterial contaminants and immune system response might break down bone and connective tissue
  • evidence of relationship between cardiovascular disease and bad oral health
  • oral infections increase glucose levels in blood and make diabetes more difficult to control

Influence on psychosocial well being and lifestyle

  • sense of bereavement connected with missing teeth
  • decreased self-confidence
  • poorer self-image
  • social seclusion
  • humiliation

Risk factors

  • smoking (can reduce opportunities for effective treatment)
  • hormonal modifications (women)
  • genes
  • age
  • vitamine C deficiency
  • bad diet
  • badly fitted partial dentures or bridges
  • badly lined up teeth
  • medications that reduce saliva and cause dry mouth increase vulnerability to gum disease
  • medications that cause irregular overgrowth of gum tissue make proper oral health harder
  • illnesses consisting of cancer or AIDS and their treatments might negatively impact health of gums
  • health problems consisting of diabetes and Parkinson’s disease may affect salivary glands and cause dry mouth, which increases production of bacteria

Also read: Mouth Cancer Signs and Symptoms

Diagnosing periodontitis

  • symptoms may be sign of serious issue
  • see your dental professional
  • dental practitioner or hygienist might take medical history to identify underlying conditions or risk factors
  • dental practitioner or hygienist will analyze gums
  • may use “probe” to check for and determine pockets (this is usually painless)
  • may take x-ray to determine if bone loss has actually taken place
  • might describe periodontist if required

Dealing with periodontitis

  • deep cleansing (scaling and root planing)
  • dental expert might recommend medication as part of treatment (medication alone is inadequate treatment)
  • dentist might recommend surgery including flap surgery, or bone and tissue grafts

Treatment decisions

  • when thinking about any extensive dental or medical treatment alternatives, you might want to get a second opinion
  • to discover a dental practitioner or periodontist for a second opinion call your regional dental society for a list of certified dental experts in your area

Preventative procedures

  • minimize sugar intake
  • stop cigarette smoking
  • use tooth paste consisting of fluoride
  • brush teeth twice a day
  • floss daily
  • antimicrobial mouth rinse can help in managing plaque
  • see dental professional routinely
  • take a total list of all medications to dental visits and advise dental practitioner of side effects consisting of dry mouth
  • preserve tidiness of dentures and dental bridges
  • ensure dentures and bridges fit correctly

Guidance for unique requirements

  • electric tooth brushes can help individuals with arthritis or mobility constraints who have trouble or pain holding standard toothbrush maintain excellent oral health
  • for slightly impaired movement, a washcloth or sponge can be wrapped around tooth brush manage and protected with elastic

Older Adults Requiring Assistance with Oral Hygiene

Oral hygiene may be very difficult for individuals coping with dementia and they might sometimes require assistance from caretakers. Habits issues or agitation frequently associated with dementia may be symptomatic of undiagnosed oral pain, consisting of cavities, tender gums or sores in the mouth. It is necessary for caretakers to ensure that their care receiver keeps a great oral hygiene regimen. Offering oral care to a private with dementia, nevertheless, may be difficult for both the caretaker and care receiver. Here are some things to bear in mind when offering or assisting with oral care:

  • The majority of care receivers will fall into among 4 classifications for oral care abilities: independent/no help needed; requirements triggering and reminding; requires some support; requirements complete support
  • Think about each action needed in brushing teeth or daily care of dentures
  • Observe the care receiver during their oral health routine to identify what steps in their oral care routine they have the ability to perform independently
  • Motivate them to carry out as many steps as they are able to do individually and assist them with the rest
  • This procedure is described as “Task Breakdown” and promotes dignity and independence

Guidance for Caregivers Assisting with and Providing Oral Care

  • Have all equipment ready
  • Have care receiver sit in comfortable position
  • Sit or stand at very same level as care receiver and preserve eye contact
  • Explain what you are doing prior to each step
  • Smile, speak in a calm voice and minimize sensory stimulation in environment
  • If care receiver becomes extremely upset or resistant to oral care, caretaker should not require the job, but rather stop and re-try a few minutes later or ask another care giver to attempt if possible

You might be interested in: Pain Relief for Gum Infection



  • Engaging the care receiver’s senses consisting of sight and touch, which assists to clarify your actions
  • Location tooth brush or dentures in care receiver’s hand
  • After a brief period of time some care receivers will individually brush teeth/clean dentures at this stage


  • Includes placing familiar item (towel, activity board, small pillow) in care receiver’s hand during oral health routine
  • This assists to distract care receiver from task being performed
  • Familiar music may likewise be played during oral care


  • Caretaker begins oral health regimen and after that asks care receiver to assist complete the job

Hand-over hand

  • Strategy to assist enhance the sensory awareness of the job
  • Caretaker locations his/her hand over the care receiver’s hand and starts to brush teeth or remove/replace denture

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