Almost 1 out of 5 grownups aged 65 years and over have no teeth. Total teeth loss is twice as common amongst grownups aged 75 years and over (26%) than grownups aged between 65-74 years (13%). People in this age group with wearing dentures or no teeth are at an increased risk of poor nutrition since these persons usually prefer soft and easy to chew foods rather than foods like vegetables, meat and fresh fruits.
Also, the more you get older, the higher the chances of getting diagnosed with periodontitis. So, if you’ve lost all your teeth, are you still vulnerable to gum disease?
Yes, you can get gum disease even with no teeth. Without the cover that teeth provide, your gums are left open to bacteria and food. Periodontal disease or gingivitis is caused by the buildup of bacteria in the shape of dental plaque. The plaque releases toxins that result in the inflammation and irritation of gums. Bacteria in the gums can enter the bloodstream and travel to the bones and other vital organs, which can result in a whole host of health complications like coronary artery disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
Best Ways To Care For Your Gums After Losing Teeth
Taking this into account, it becomes that more important to clean your gums and be watchful for any early signs of gum diseases such as periodontitis or gingivitis. If you are a senior with no teeth, this guide will provide you with the best ways to care for your gums after losing teeth.
Brush Your Gums
The majority of people with all their complete sets of teeth regularly neglect to brush their gums. Even if you don’t have teeth anymore, make sure to brush your gums with an extra-soft toothbrush. Brushing your gums regularly will do away with any debris that has occupied the gums.
Also, make sure to use fluoride toothpaste to brush your gums (you can see my recommended toothpaste for older adults here). This action will rouse the gums and ensure that the gum tissues remain healthy even as you continue aging. Don’t revert to bad habits and neglect gum cleaning even after losing all your teeth with age.
Regardless if your dentures are temporary or permanent, it’s integral that you ascertain they are kept clean to prevent the possible buildup of bacteria. In fact, dentures need to be disinfected before use to make sure that you aren’t bringing in toxic bacteria in your mouth. When food gets stuck between the gums, dentures can cause significant gum pain and irritation. And if left unattended, it can escalate to infection or inflammation.
So, before you put in the dentures when you wake up, and when you remove them at night, create a routine of brushing your dentures as you would with your missing teeth, not forgetting the retainer part as well. Before you go to sleep at night, make sure to remove your dentures to avoid them drying out your saliva and causing gum irritation when you wake up. Additionally, it’s advisable to soak your dentures in a cleanser, like Efferdent, overnight at least once per month.
Proper denture care will not only inhibit bad breath and possible denture damage but will also reduce gum pain and the likelihood of gum disease resulting from poor oral hygiene.
Use Therapeutic Mouthwash
Often accessible over the counter, mouthwashes can assist in reducing plaque, reducing or inhibiting gingivitis, decelerating the development tarter, or a combination of these, as reported by the ADA. What’s more, using mouth rinse assists in removing debris and food particles from your mouth, although this isn’t an alternative to brushing or flossing. Also, a therapeutic mouthwash can prove to be the last defense line against germs and bacteria that may be lingering even after you brush your tongue, brush your gums and stimulate your gums.
Smoking is strongly linked with the early stages of gum disease. According to the CDC, smoking impairs the immune system, making it difficult to ward off gum disease. Additionally, smoking makes it hard for gums to fully heal when they get damaged. So, if you’re a smoker, you should think about quitting for your overall well-being.
Get Regular Dental Cleaning
Not having teeth doesn’t necessarily imply you can skip visits to the dentist office for regular dental cleanings. Your dental physician can spot early gum disease signs and take appropriate treatment measures to stop the problem from escalating. A professional dental cleanse will get rid of tartar and plaque that might have been missed during flossing or brushing.