Smiles change as you age. Getting older means going through changes. No part of your body is safe from this process, including your mouth and teeth. As you grow older, you will find that different factors impact your teeth and may influence how you look. Below are some of the ways that aging impacts your mouth. In this post, we’re going to take you through the basics of why and what to do about it. Let’s get stuck in.
How Smiles Change as You Get Older
Your Teeth Shift and Move
Smiles change as you age, you lose bone density in your jaw. When this happens, your jaw may shrink, causing your teeth to shift and become crowded. You may notice this mostly on your bottom jaw, with the teeth overlapping one another. On your top jaw, you might notice that a gap develops between your front teeth because of this movement. If you had a gap there to begin with, it may grow larger as you get older.
You may also find that as you lose bone density in your jaw, this causes some of your teeth to fall out. If you don’t get these holes filled in with replacements, including bridges or implants, your other teeth will move into these gaps. Any movement of your teeth can alter your smile.
You Are More Susceptible to Gum Disease
The saliva in your mouth is your mouth’s best defense against gum disease. You have bacteria that naturally occur on the surface of your teeth, but it is washed away when you brush or when you swallow. As you age, you may find that you don’t produce as much saliva, and this can allow the bacteria to grow out of hand.
There are many reasons why your saliva production might decrease, including medications that you might be taking. Too much bacteria in your mouth could lead to gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums. If left untreated, this could then develop into periodontal disease, which could result in tooth loss and other infections.
Your Teeth Become Stained
The older you get, the more foods and beverages you will consume. If you indulge in items such as coffee, tea or red wine, all of these can damage your enamel and stain your teeth. When this occurs, your teeth will no longer be white and shiny. This could make you self-conscious and less likely to show off your teeth when happy.
If you are a smoker, this will also have an impact on your teeth and leave them discolored. It could also increase your chances of developing mouth and throat cancer or gum disease. Any of these could lead to tooth loss, which will change how your mouth looks.
Your Enamel Wears Down
Your teeth are incredibly strong, and they can last for a long time. However, after years of being used to consume food, they will wear down. The things that you might notice include loss of enamel, which could lead to an increased risk of cavities, and teeth that have been flattened by use. You may also develop cracks or chips in your teeth, all of which will change how they look.
When your enamel wears down, this could also lead to tooth sensitivity. While this may not have a physical impact on your mouth, it will change what you eat and if you expose your teeth to the air. Any breeze could set you on edge and create pain, so you may keep your mouth closed to prevent having to deal with this issue.
Other items that have an impact on the amount of enamel you have include sugary and acidic drinks. Thus, if you drink a lot of diet drinks as you grow older, this can wear your enamel and teeth down faster. Try to avoid these as much as possible to keep your mouth looking good.
You Have an Increased Risk of Jaw Misalignment
Since your body continues to change as you age, this could result in your jaw becoming misaligned. When this occurs, it could result in an undershot jaw or even an overbite, both of which will change how you look.
Some signs that your jaw may be out of alignment including a clicking or popping sound when you chew or open your mouth, headaches or backaches. If you grind your teeth or clench your jaw, these are things that could result in misalignment and painful issues with your mouth and jaw.
Ways to Fix These Issues
While you may feel disheartened and upset to learn that your mouth will change over time, know that there are ways to keep it looking youthful. The advances in dental science have numerous ways to combat these issues and keep your mouth healthy and your teeth bright.
Whiten Your Teeth
Having your teeth whitened by a professional is a great way to get rid of stains that may occur from the foods and beverages you consume. This process can make you more than willing to show off your pearly whites and help you with your self-confidence. Having whitening done by a professional will give you customized results that will look dazzling and last for a long time.
If you have chipped or cracked teeth, you might consider getting veneers. Not only will these protect your teeth from further damage, but they will also help them look whiter. This is a great option to keep your mouth looking younger and healthy.
Realign Your Teeth
Having orthodontic work is a great way to keep your teeth straight. You even have the option of wearing clear aligners, so no one has to know that you are going through this process.
Have Regular Checkups
The best thing you can do for your mouth to keep it healthy and youthful-looking is to have regular checkups with your dentist. This will allow them to keep track of, diagnose and treat any disease or issue that might occur. Gum disease can be a huge health issue, so it’s best to take care of this before it becomes a major problem.
If you are concerned about the fact that smiles change your mouth and think it might be aging you, then call Dr. Papandreas for your complimentary consultation today. We can help you find the process to make your mouth healthy and look younger.
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