How Does Aging Affect Your Teeth?
It’s a fact of life that with aging there comes changes to your body, and your teeth are no exception to that rule. While everyone’s situation is unique, there are a couple common changes to your teeth you can expect as you get older.
Changes in Enamel
It shouldn’t be surprising that a lifetime of wear and tear can leave some effects on your teeth. All that biting and chewing and grinding you do over the years can wear down your enamel, the outer layer of your teeth. The acidic foods that you eat can also destroy your enamel. This is important, because once enamel is damaged, it can’t grow back, and teeth with weak enamel are more susceptible to decay, cavities, sensitivity, and discoloration.
Changes in Color
How your enamel changes with age will affect the color of your teeth. As your enamel thins, more of the dentin (the layer underneath enamel) is visible. This dentin is yellowish in color, which is one reason why your teeth may not appear as sparkly white as they used to be.
While taking medication isn’t exclusive to older people, it’s quite common for people to take more medications as they age. Some medications can affect dental health, such as by causing dry mouth or puffy gums. While neither of those is about teeth specifically, both can cause effects on your teeth in the long run. For example, having dry mouth raises your risk of tooth decay and swollen gums can lead to bleeding, tenderness, and the accumulation of bacteria.
What You Can Do
To keep your teeth in the best condition possible as you age, look out for your enamel.
- Don’t chew ice or bite down on other hard objects (like chewing on your pen).
- If you know that you grind your teeth at night, ask us about a custom-fitted nightguard to shield your teeth from damage.
- Limit your consumption of foods and beverages that are highly acidic, sugary, or staining, like candy, soda, wine, and coffee.
- If you are suffering with dry mouth due to your medication, speak with your doctor about alternatives or pick up some sugarless gum to chew on to stimulate saliva flow.
- You should also maintain a good daily oral care routine that consists of brushing at least twice, flossing at least once, and visiting the dentist on a regular basis.
Have more questions about the connection between aging and your dental health? Or maybe you’d just like to schedule your next visit? Contact North River Dental Care today!