Gum disease can strike whatever your age, warn Drayton dentists

A new patient aged in her early 60s visited Drayton Dental near Norwich recently troubled by sensitive teeth. An x-ray revealed she had cracked a tooth and an examination carried out by our Drayton dentists found she had extensive gum disease. When we explained our findings the patient said ‘Isn’t gum disease just a sign of old age?’

Are you at risk of gum disease?

Some 80% of the UK population are estimated to suffer from a form of gum disease at some stage in their life. Old age alone is not a factor: the most common cause is bad oral hygiene, however certain groups of people are more at risk, including:

Women and teenage girls

Women and teenage girls are more at risk of developing gum disease because of the many hormonal changes they experience such as puberty and the menopause, as well as taking oral contraceptives and having monthly periods. During all of these times, the body experiences hormonal changes that make gums sensitive.

Pregnant women

During pregnancy, a woman experiences a whole nine months of hormonal changes which make the gums much more sensitive than usual and more susceptible to bleeding. Research has also shown that gum disease may be responsible for an increase in the likelihood of giving birth prematurely.

Smokers

Smoking increases bacterial plaque whilst reducing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the gums and generates free radicals that delay the healing process, thus making the gums more susceptible to infection. Research shows that smoking causes 50% of all gum disease cases.

People with diabetes

Gum disease is often considered the sixth complication of diabetes. This is because when blood sugar levels are poorly controlled, blood glucose levels rise and the higher levels of sugar in the mouth help harmful germs to grow. People with diabetes can also be more susceptible to contracting infections including infections of the gums.

People who suffer from stress

Research shows that stress can make it more difficult for our bodies to fight gum disease.

The signs of gum disease

You may be on the journey of gum disease if you have:

  • Bleeding gums

  • Bad breath

  • Swollen gums

  • Receding gums

  • Loose or drifting teeth

  • Tooth loss

If you have any of these symptoms please book an appointment with your dentist or hygienist immediately. We always explain to our patients from across Drayton, Taverham, Hellesdon, Horsford and Norwich that the early stages of gum disease are reversible and easily controlled, so treatment should not be put off. Please contact our friendly team for more information.

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