As anyone who has reached middle-aged or older knows, everything in your body starts to change as time goes by. The same is true for your teeth. Of course, using the best dental hygiene practices can stave off problems for a very long time. However, physiological changes still affect dental health and appearance. Learn how teeth change with age and what you can do about this natural process.
Shifting and Movement of Teeth
The actual structure of your jaw and mouth change over time. Studies show that the dental arch begins to narrow once you hit around 40 years old. Add in the effects of gravity, constant chewing and pressure, and weakening musculature and bone density, and your teeth may shift out of optimum alignment. In most cases, this does not necessitate a return to braces or a retainer. However, it can cause some issues with bite alignment and additional friction can lead to weakened enamel and an increase in cavities.
Worn and Weakened Enamel
A lifetime of chewing and natural teeth movements wear down the enamel that covers every tooth surface. There is no way to avoid this because you cannot give up chewing your food. People who grind their teeth can help prevent this wear with certain dental protecting tools such as mouth guards. When the enamel thins, the chance of cavities and other problems like this can increase. It is extremely important that you maintain a proper dental care regimen no matter what.
Gums Thin and Recede
Periodontal disease, excessively harsh brushing, and the natural progression of the years all cause the gums to get thinner and drawback from the surfaces of your teeth. Lower production of saliva, which is another common issue as we age, can contribute to this problem as well. Make sure to speak with your dental expert to make sure you do not have gingivitis or other serious infections instead of simple age-related gum issues.
As the decades pass, food, beverages, smoking, and time can yellow or discolor your teeth. Even with the utmost care and avoidance of staining foods, your teeth do naturally get yellower as you age. This is due to the dentin layer showing through the outermost enamel as it thins.
Dental Nerves Weaken
One of the potentially good changes that happen to teeth as you age involves the dental nerve that goes up into the center of each one. These actually gets smaller as time goes on, which means you feel less pain during dental procedures, when biting wrong on something hard, or when eating hot or cold foods or beverages. On the other hand, weakened nerves can also hide serious dental problems as you cannot feel the usual pain associated with them. This is just one reason why it is important to maintain regularly scheduled dental appointments.
No matter how old you are, regular tooth care and visits to your Las Vegas dentist should remain part of your health and well-being schedule. If time or other issues make more serious problems arise, there are options your dentist can help with including implants, partial or full dentures, and more.