Youth is fleeting, even when it comes to teeth. Imagine thirty years of chewing and drinking foods, and all the possible impact your teeth can take throughout those years. Since we can’t stop time, and we haven’t been able to advance science enough to completely stop the aging process, the best way to prepare yourself for aging teeth it to read up!
Your tooth enamel is the hardest substance in our body. It’s incredibly resilient, containing 96% mineral, making it the toughest tissue, even tougher than bone. However, wear and tear throughout the years can really take its toll on your teeth, especially the parts that you use to chew and bite. Though you can’t go back and erase the damage that has already been done, you can talk to your dentist about repairing some of the most impactful damage. Tooth restoration can ensure that you keep your natural teeth for as long as possible before resorting to crowns, implants, or dentures. Fixing chipping or broken teeth is essential for longevity, but so is having a proper bite. Adult braces are no big deal these days, and some people are even candidates for methods like Invisalign! Another option to consider to help minimize tooth trauma is to discuss the use of a night guard if you have a habit of clenching or grinding your teeth as you sleep.
Mind Your Gums
White teeth are the focus these days, but having blindingly bright teeth won’t do much for you if your gums aren’t healthy! If plaque is building up on your teeth, it’s also impacting your gums, causing soreness, bleeding, and inflammation. This could potentially lead to gum disease that can even harm the bones that keep your teeth in place. Typically, these issues start with receding gum lines, which can progress to periodontitis. Without intervention, this could quickly lead to tooth loss and other painful conditions. The most effective way of taking care of your gums is flossing daily, along with brushing at least twice a day. Regular checkups at the dentist also help, of course. If you suspect that you have issues with your gums, see a dental professional sooner than later so they can prevent the worst from happening.
Quit Bad Habits
Smoking and nail-biting are the most common bad habits that can hurt aging teeth, but there are others! Chewing ice or crushing hard candies can easily be the cause of aging teeth chipping. A bad diet can also severely weaken teeth and gums as the body is deprived of the proper nutrients it needs to keep your oral health strong. People who regularly drink soda (both regular and sugar-free) are also exposing their teeth to large amounts of acid every day. This can quickly wear away at tooth enamel exposing them to other dangers and also making them structurally weak. One specific habit that many pick up is swishing their drinks around in their mouths before swallowing. This isn’t helping you dislodge particles out of your teeth; you’re actually spreading the acid along more of your teeth, helping plaque form from sugars and additives. You’re never too old to break a bad habit; your teeth will thank you for it!
As your birthdays add up, chances are so will the sensitivity of your teeth. With age, your tooth enamel will begin to thin out, something making teeth more sensitive than ever before. Worn enamel isn’t the only culprit; gums become sensitive too. Drinking very hot or very cold liquids can become more challenging but the pain you experience in these circumstances is more than just discomfort, it’s a red flag. Though it’s sometimes impossible to undo the sensitivity that you’ve developed, you can take steps to reduce it by speaking to your dentist about what sensitivity toothpaste is best for your teeth. There are also special bonding treatments that are available in extreme cases that can help people more comfortable with their day to day activities while having sensitive teeth.
Replace Old Fillings
Dentistry has improved since the 90s significantly, and chances are that some of your fillings are probably beginning to crack or become loose. Make sure you are keeping up with your bi-annual checkups to ensure that your filings are creating nooks and crannies for bacteria to hide in and cause decay. You can also replace old amalgam or gold fillings with composite resin or porcelain to avoid potential cracking or jeopardizing of your tooth’s structure. During this process, make sure you have x-rays done to check out what’s happening to your teeth below the gum line. Sometimes decay can happen where it’s not visible, especially in aging teeth, and the process to repair it can sometimes be a longer process than just a filling.
Screen for Cancer
Unfortunately, as we age, the chances of cancer tend to rise. This doesn’t mean that it’s inevitable, but it does mean that you should be more aware of the signs. Cancer developments don’t always come with painful symptoms, so it’s important to look for cancer of the tongue, mouth, and lips. Prevention is the first tool against cancer. Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption can greatly reduce the chances of these cancers, along with regular screenings. Make sure to keep an eye on any new or odd looking sores, red or white patches, or long-lasting changes in the mouth. These signs won’t always be bothersome, so if you feel that something simply doesn’t look right, be sure to speak up.
Aging is inevitable. No matter how hard we try to cosmetically keep it at bay. Even aesthetically perfect teeth can have underlying issues caused by aging gums and tooth enamel. Be sure to practice preventative steps to keep your mouth healthy in order to avoid potentially dangerous conditions like periodontal disease and even cancer. Staying current with your dental checkup and taking extra care of your hygiene and diet are simple and great ways to keep mature teeth in good shape.