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Dental and Oral Health (Seniors)

Oral Hygiene and Gum Dsease

04/20/1999

Question:

A friend of mine had nearly all of her upper teeth pulled and replaced with dentures with the exception of her molars. She smokes and never really took good care of her teeth (in terms of regular cleanings, etc.). She claims part of her problems with gum disease was "genetic" since her mother had dentures also.

Doesn`t it take a long time for periodontal disease to progress to the point that you have to have your teeth pulled? How much of the problem is due to poor oral hygiene and how much to a genetic susceptibility to gum disease?

Answer:

Periodontal Disease is a chronic disease with a wide spectrum of clinical appearance. For example, gingivitis is a gum disease but without bone loss or pocket formation. However, periodontitis which exhibits bone loss and pocket formation is still classified as a gum disease. Genetics plays a role in disease development; however, oral hygiene is the primary cause of periodontal disease and tooth loss.

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Response by:

Abdel Rahim   Mohammad, DDS, MS, MPH, FAAOM, FACD Abdel Rahim Mohammad, DDS, MS, MPH, FAAOM, FACD
Clinical Professor of Geriatrics
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University