As you age, your teeth may change in many ways. Most of these changes are due to wear and tear, but some may also result from disease or injury. You need to be aware of these changes so that you can take steps to protect your teeth.
Here are some things you should know about your teeth as you age
1. Your teeth may become yellow or discolored.
The discoloration of the teeth is a common side effect of aging. Because the enamel of the teeth becomes thinner with age, the yellowish dentin underneath becomes more visible. This can be exacerbated by years of drinking coffee, tea, red wine, or smoking cigarettes.
Some people may also experience dark spots on their teeth, usually resulting from injury or disease. A dentist can remove these spots but may require more invasive treatments, such as veneers or crowns. Some people may also choose to whiten their teeth to counteract the effects of aging.
The best way to prevent the discoloration of your teeth is to brush and floss regularly and see your dentist for regular checkups. It would be best if you also avoid smoking and excessive coffee, tea, and red wine consumption. This will help keep your teeth looking their best as you age.
2. You may lose some of your teeth.
Tooth loss is a common problem among older adults. In fact, by the age of 65, most people have lost at least one tooth. There are many reasons for this, including gum disease, tooth decay, and injury.
The good news is that many options for replacing missing teeth are available, including dentures, bridges, and dental implants. These procedures can help you regain your smile and improve your ability to eat and speak. They can also help to prevent the shifting of your remaining teeth.
If you are concerned about tooth loss, you should see your dentist for regular checkups. You should also brush and floss regularly and eat a healthy diet. This will help keep your teeth healthy and strong as you age.
3. Your gums may recede.
Many people experience gum recession as they age. This occurs when the gum tissue pulls away from the teeth, exposing more of the tooth root. This results in a “long in the tooth” appearance.
Gum recession can be caused by several factors, including gum disease, genetics, and wear and tear. It can also be the result of overzealous brushing or flossing. Unsurprisingly, it is more common in people who smoke cigarettes because smoking can irritate the gums.
Gum recession is a serious problem because it can lead to tooth loss. It can also make your teeth look longer than they are. Talk to your dentist about ways to prevent or treat gum recession.
4. Your teeth may become more sensitive.
Many older adults experience increased tooth sensitivity. This feeling can range from a slight tingling to sharp pain. It can be triggered by hot or cold food and drinks, sweet foods, acidic foods, or even breathing cold air.
Tooth sensitivity is often the result of gum recession, which exposes the tooth root and makes it more sensitive to temperature changes. It can also be caused by tooth decay, enamel loss, or gum disease.
This usually indicates that something is wrong with your teeth and you should see a dentist as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can try using toothpaste for sensitive teeth or a soft-bristled toothbrush. You should also avoid eating or drinking anything that triggers your tooth sensitivity.
5. You may have less saliva.
Less saliva means a drier mouth, which can lead to many problems. A dry mouth can make it difficult to speak and eat and lead to tooth decay. This is because saliva helps neutralize the acids in your mouth and wash away food particles.
A dry mouth can be caused by many factors, including medication side effects, dehydration, and certain medical conditions. Sjogren’s syndrome, for example, is an autoimmune disorder that causes dryness in the mouth and eyes.
If you have a dry mouth, the best thing to do is to drink plenty of water. You can also try sucking on sugar-free candy or chewing sugar-free gum to help stimulate saliva production. Several over-the-counter products can help relieve dry mouth symptoms. Talk to your dentist about the best options for you.
5. You may have problems with your jaw.
You may experience problems with your jaw as you age. This is because the joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull, known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), can degenerate with age. This can lead to pain, clicking, and popping when you move your jaw.
Your teeth may also become loose as the bones and ligaments that support them degenerate. This can make it difficult to eat or speak. If you have problems with your jaw, you should see a dentist or oral surgeon. They will be able to diagnose the problem and recommend the best course of action to help you.
As you age, it is crucial to be aware of the changes in your mouth. These changes can range from cosmetic concerns to severe problems leading to tooth loss. By seeing a dentist regularly and practicing good oral hygiene, you can help keep your teeth healthy and strong as you age.