Teeth and Aging: 5 Oral Health Changes to Expect as You Get Older >> As you age, you will start noticing various changes happening to your body.
Unfortunately, these changes occur at faster rates every year and sometimes, it can be hard to stop or delay them.
A cosmetic dentist in Fort Lauderdale explains that your teeth and mouth will also undergo changes as you get older. Some of these variations are noticeable, while others are not.
How Teeth and Aging Can Affect Your Smile
Below are the five changes you can expect as you get on in years:
- Teeth Discoloration
One of the most obvious changes you can see in your oral health as you age is yellowing teeth.
Your teeth will start losing their natural pearly sheen over time since the dentin inside your tooth also turns yellow. This will eventually show through as your enamel wears down.
If you smoke or use tobacco products and drink coffee, tea, wine, and other dark beverages often, your pearly whites will lose their luster and look yellow faster.
Having poor dental habits can also cause teeth discoloration. When you don’t brush and floss properly every day, plaque and tartar begin to build upon your pearly whites. These two can make your teeth appear yellow.
- Damage on Teeth Structure
Your teeth are some of the strongest parts of the human body. However, wear and tear can cause them to grow weaker over time.
The years of biting and chewing can wear down the enamel protecting your teeth, making them susceptible to cracking and breaking.
Bruxism or teeth grinding can also wear down your teeth faster.
Additionally, the nerves in your teeth lose sensitivity as you get on in years. Because of this, you may not notice any pain coming from a deep-seated cavity until it gets serious.
When you don’t have a cavity treated immediately, this can lead to tooth decay and possibly, even its loss.
- Shifting Teeth
If you have any missing tooth and you did not have it replaced, you may soon find your teeth gradually beginning to move.
Even if you do not have any missing teeth, since the bones of the upper and lower jaw get weaker as you age, you will notice your pearly whites moving and turning inwards over time.
Gaps between your teeth can also become wider.
Fortunately, this age-related dental change is not too drastic and occurs slowly. As such, with your dentist’s help, they can be corrected without invasive treatments.
Another possible reason why your teeth move as you get older is periodontal or gum disease.
Periodontal disease is caused by plaque buildup in the space between your teeth and gums. This condition leads to receding gums, which can result in wobbly teeth and jawbone deterioration.
These issues can cause your teeth to shift.
Periodontal disease can affect people of all ages. However, it gets more severe the longer it goes undiagnosed. Because of this, older people who do not see their dentists are more likely to have this dental issue.
Gum recession, which is another common problem among older people, can also be caused by jawbone shrinkage. If left untreated, your teeth’s roots may become exposed. When this happens, you may experience teeth sensitivity and become more prone to cavities.
Dry mouth or xerostomia is a common problem among older populations.
Xerostomia occurs when the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva. This dental condition is often caused by diseases prevalent in seniors, such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Older people can also develop this issue due to the prolonged intake of certain medications like muscle relaxers and painkillers.
When you have xerostomia, you will experience difficulties in eating and swallowing. It also causes bad breath and irritation and infection of the oral tissues.
Additionally, when you have a dry mouth, you will be at higher risk for gum disease and tooth decay.
Dealing With Changes in Your Oral Health
Below are some tips for preventing and managing the unhealthy changes happening in your mouth as you get older:
Get help from your dentist.
If you want whiter teeth, consult your dentist for a teeth whitening treatment best suited for you.
There are different in-office and over-the-counter whitening treatments you can choose from. If you select the wrong one, you may do more damage than good to your teeth.
If you grind your teeth at night, you will do well to see your orthodontist in Fort Lauderdale to get a custom-made mouthguard that helps lighten the tension and give cushion to your jaw muscles. Even if you can’t stop your bruxism, you can prevent further wear and tear on your teeth.
- Address your periodontal problem.
Since gum disease can lead to various dental problems, you need to treat it right away.
Be on the lookout for the usual signs of periodontal disease, which include bad breath, bleeding, and tender gums. If you experience these symptoms, immediately see a dentist who will diagnose your condition and give you preventative treatment.
When brushing, brush right up to the gumline and all surfaces of your teeth. Doing so will help prevent the buildup of plaque and reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
To avoid dry mouth, drink water frequently throughout the day. Aim to drink at least eight glasses daily.
When you are hydrated, you keep your mouth moist. Chewing sugarless gum also helps stimulate saliva production.
If you smoke or chew tobacco, it will be best to quit this harmful habit. Doing so will reduce your risk of gum disease. You will notice positive changes in your overall health as well.
Lastly, follow a balanced diet. Consume more fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy proteins. Stay away from or minimize your intake of fatty, salty, and sugary food.
Maintain a proper oral care routine.
Following the right dental care habits can help you maintain good oral health.
Brush your teeth twice a day. Also, floss once daily and use mouthwash to remove remaining food debris and bacteria in your mouth.
See your dentist at least twice a year. If you are experiencing any symptoms or notice something with your teeth or gums, schedule an appointment with your specialist. Quick detection and proper diagnosis can help you avoid worse dental problems and maintain good oral health.
Even if you are experiencing the effects of aging, it doesn’t mean that you should do nothing about them. By practicing good oral hygiene habits and working with your dentist, you can maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.