Time and again, you hear about the importance of dental hygiene. Dental health not only impacts your teeth but your overall well-being too. So, the age-old question arises, what happens to your teeth as you age? This becomes even more important as you grow older, as the susceptibility to oral conditions like tooth loss, gum disease, tooth decay and cavities increases. Thankfully, with some dental hygiene measures and with the help of a dental professional from a good dental clinic, you can keep these common problems at bay and enjoy healthy teeth for life.
Today, our team of dentists at Dentaservice will explain what happens to your teeth as you age. Which will help you develop a better gauge of what measures you can take to keep your teeth healthy. Read more to find out what happens to your teeth as you age:
- How does ageing change teeth and gums?
- What happens to your teeth as you age: Some things to consider
- Measures to minimise the impact of ageing on teeth
How does ageing change teeth and gums?
The process of ageing affects everything in our bodies, from our cells, tissues and organs to our mouths. Just as your taste buds become weaker, your teeth also change their shape and form with age. Tooth decay, damaged crowns and bridges, teeth yellowing, and the presence of gum diseases all become more prominent. And sometimes, your teeth can also end up shifting, which leads to a number of other dental problems. While some of the changes result from external factors like diet, medications or tobacco consumption, others are bound to occur simply because of old age. This is a result of what happens to your teeth as you age:
- The cell renewal rate of our bodies becomes much slower,
- Bone density decreases, which also affects strength,
- The body’s tissue becomes thinner and less elastic,
- The immune system becomes weaker, and healing from infections becomes more difficult.
What happens to your teeth as you age: Some things to consider:
What happens to your teeth as you age and some of the changes you’ll notice as you grow older:
1. Change in teeth colour
One of the most common changes seen in teeth as we grow older is a change in colour. Yellowing or discolouration and teeth staining become more common. This happens because of two main reasons.
- It could be the cumulative effect of food colourings and dyes that stain your teeth over time.
- It could result from the thinning of the tooth enamel. As your enamel wears down with age, the dentin (tooth layer underneath the enamel) becomes exposed.
Solution: A yellowing of teeth over time is a natural phenomenon and there is not much that can be done to prevent it. You can stay away from food colouring and beverages that cause teeth staining, alongside also practising good dental hygiene. If your teeth have started showing signs of yellowing, you can seek out professional teeth whitening services at your local dental clinic. Here at Dentaservice, we offer both in-clinic teeth whitening procedures as well as a take-home teeth whitening kit for additional convenience.
2. Tooth wear and tear
Another change that occurs with age is the natural wear and tear of teeth. A set of human teeth goes through a fair bit over the span of a lifetime, from combating acid produced by foods and drinks, to teeth grinding (a common condition amongst many people). Some dental experts say attrition (wear and tear) starts happening earlier in life when our adult teeth first come in during childhood and early adolescence. Individuals who have a habit of grinding their teeth or clenching their jaw show greater signs of attrition. On top of this, if dental hygiene habits like flossing and brushing are not followed, this problem can become even more pronounced.
Solution: The best way to slow the rate of attrition in your teeth is by being mindful of the food and drinks you are consuming. Try to avoid food and drinks that are sugary, acidic and starchy.
3. Tooth decay
When it comes to what happens to your teeth as you age? Teeth become more susceptible to tooth diseases and tooth decay. Bacteria is one of the biggest threats to your teeth as you grow older, and it is the most common cause of gum disease and tooth decay. Besides this, your mouth also becomes drier as you age, which increases the chances of tooth decay even further.
Solution: It’s important to practise oral hygiene on a routine basis to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Doctors recommend brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day. It’s also recommended that you drink plenty of water, and avoid food and drinks high in simple sugars. You should also visit your dental clinic for a regular check-up when it comes to consultation, tooth fillings or dental bridges and crowns. If tooth decay is left unchecked, it can lead to a number of other problems.
4. Receding gums
A common issue in what happens to your teeth as you age, especially among many seniors is receding gums. Receding gums, also known as gingival recession, is a condition in which the gums start pulling away from the teeth. When gum starts receding, the roots of teeth are then exposed to external elements like foods/drinks or changes in temperature. In other words, gingival recession can result in tooth sensitivity. Although gingival recession can happen to anyone, it’s usually more prevalent among older adults.
Solution: Once again, practising good dental hygiene can help combat your risks of experiencing receding gums. You should also avoid harmful oral habits like teeth clenching or teeth grinding. If you do notice any early signs of gum recession, we highly recommend that you book an appointment with your dentist to ensure the issue is addressed promptly.
5. Shifting teeth
Another very common change with old age is the shifting of teeth. Even if you’ve had naturally straight teeth earlier in life, you can still experience shifting teeth that result in your smile turning noticeably crooked as you grow older. This is another phenomenon that is a natural part of what happens to your teeth as you age.
Solution: Shifting of teeth can be prevented by wearing clear aligners or wisdom teeth pain, spacers and retainers. If you’re concerned about shifting teeth, consult with your orthodontic professional to secure a professional opinion and expert advice on how best to combat this concern.
Measures to minimise the impact of ageing on teeth
As we’ve already stated, some changes are bound to occur as you age. But there are still measures you can take to minimise the impacts of ageing and keep your teeth healthy for longer. We’ve outlined some of these measures below.
- With regular dental check-ups and professional teeth cleaning conducted on a routine basis, any dental or periodontal concerns can be caught early and you can receive timely treatment.
- Increasing your water intake can also help with your oral hygiene, especially as you age. Water combats the harmful effects of medications, high-acidity foods and drinks, and dry mouth.
- Smoking is not only bad for your physical health but your dental health as well. The easiest way to have healthy teeth over the course of your life is to quit smoking.
What happens to your teeth as you age, is something we all deal with as you grow older with bodily changes. It doesn’t mean you have to feel complacent with these issues impacting your lifestyle. By taking preventative measures and visiting your dentist regularly, you can keep your teeth healthy for life and remain confident in your smile.
Looking to care for your teeth as you age for both you and your family? Contact us at Dentaservice today to make your first appointment or to know more about our professional and trusted services.