How teeth age and what we can do about it
Aging is inevitable, as are its effects on our teeth. They get worn down, gums shrink, and the mouth gets drier–which increases the risk of tooth decay. Fortunately, there are things we can do to address these changes. Here are the ways teeth age and what our Surrey dentists can do about it.
How teeth age
- Get worn down
- Dry mouth increases tooth decay
- Gum recession
A lifetime of chewing, biting and grinding–particularly in cases of bruxism–causes aging teeth to wear down, chip or crack. This alters their shape and function, as well as their aesthetics. Cosmetic dentistry is used to build teeth back up and restore what was lost.
When teeth get worn down, enamel is lost. Underneath the enamel is dentin, which is yellow. So teeth tend to yellow as we age. There are a few treatments for this, depending on the underlying cause. An oral exam can determine whether it is due to staining or the loss of enamel. Our dentists can then recommend the best approach. Tooth whitening and veneers are two possibilities.
Mouths tends to get drier with age. Additionally, drugs that address other aspects of aging, like heart or blood pressure medication, can exacerbate the problem. Saliva is an important defence against tooth decay. So a dry mouth is more prone to cavities.
There are a few things you can try yourself, such as reducing your caffeine intake, switching to alcohol-free mouthwash, using sugar-free gum or candies, or increasing your water intake (including having some by your bedside for nighttime). Our dentists can help by prescribing medication that promotes saliva generation to combat dry mouth.
Somewhere around middle age we start to lose more of our muscle and bone. Over the years this adds up, and in the area of the mouth it can cause gum recession. If it progresses far enough, teeth can fall out. Gum grafts are used to treat gum recession and are a highly effective remedy.
As you can see, there are age-related issues in regards to our teeth. However many of them are easily treatable. We recommend seeing a dentist at least twice a year as part of your Surrey dental care plan.
Riverside Heights is your north Surrey dentist office, not far from Fraser Heights and the Guildford Mall. Contact us to make an appointment today!