How does ageing change my teeth?
A winning smile can take you a long way in life.
It’s actually been proven that people are more willing to believe information when it’s been delivered by someone with a great smile. Simply one more reason why oral hygiene is incredibly important. However, it’s not only the aesthetic aspect which makes a good smile important. Poor oral hygiene can actually lead to medical conditions which may cause ongoing health problems especially as we age.
As you get older, the natural erosion of gum tissue exposes the soft root tissues of teeth. Although a consistent routine of vigorous brushing can cause gums to recede, the most common cause is Periodontal disease (gum disease). Left unchecked, gum disease can end with significant damage to the tissue and bones, ultimately resulting in tooth loss.
Gingivitis is another type of gum disease. When tartar and plaque build-up is considerable, it can inflame the gums to the extent that you end up with bleeding gums and bad breath.
Oral cancer is a more severe medical condition and is typically caused by continual tobacco use. Excessive drinking in conjunction with smoking greatly increases your risk for oral cancer. The best defence against this particular problem is a dedicated oral health routine and of course, quitting smoking.
Taking Care of Your Teeth
With age comes the deterioration of the body’s cells, organs and tissues. Unfortunately, your teeth and gums are no exception. However, it’s a common misconception that you’ll inevitably lose all your teeth as you age. In fact, adopting consistent oral health routines, regular dental care and intelligent decisions about diet and lifestyle can ensure that your teeth last a lifetime.
- Brush twice a day. Using an electric toothbrush has significant benefits, especially for older adults who suffer from arthritis.
- Floss religiously
- Drink tap water, it contains fluoride which helps prevent tooth decay
- Fluoride rinses may even reverse the damage of tooth decay
- Visit your dentist regularly
Wear and Tear
Teeth are incredibly strong and can bite down with over 200 pounds of pressure! Although durable, they’re not indestructible and can be weakened by something as innocuous as an orange. Tooth enamel is affected by citrus fruits, carbonated beverages and acidic foods which erode the outer layer. Continually biting and chewing food also wears down the enamel and simultaneously flattens the area where you bite down.
As you age, your mouth tends to get drier. Since saliva is instrumental in protecting your mouth from decay, this means you’re at higher risk for tooth decay. Certain medications cause a dry mouth, so it may be worth discussing this with your dentist. They should be able to recommend some artificial saliva substitutes.
Several aspects of the ageing process significantly impact your oral health:
- Cells renew at a much slower rate
- Soft tissue becomes less elastic and thinner
- The immune system becomes weaker, so infection occurs more rapidly and the healing process takes longer
Since the nerves at the core of the tooth lose sensitivity with age, many problems often go undetected for extended periods. Making regular dental check-ups imperative if you’re to avoid irreparable damage.
People who stay healthy and happy, smile more! So, make sure you’ve got a great set of teeth to compliment your beautiful smile.
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