Just like everything else in our bodies, our teeth and gums go through changes as we age. These changes are normal, and many of them can be prevented or minimized through proper oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist. If you take good care of your teeth, you can expect them to serve you well for the rest of your life.
How Aging Changes Your Teeth and Gums
The most common side effect of aging on your teeth is everyday wear and tear, especially to the tooth enamel. Common causes of wear and tear include:
- Biting and chewing pressure
- Surface chips, cracks, and pitting
- Erosion from acidic foods
- Other minor damage that builds up over time
As the enamel wears down, the dentin shows through more clearly, making your teeth look darker or yellowish. These color changes are not due to surface staining but occur because the enamel has become thinner.
If you brush and floss regularly, your gums should remain fairly healthy. However, as you age, it can become more difficult to brush and floss, leading to a higher risk of decay and gum disease. Your diet may change as you get older, as well, making it more difficult for you to get all the nutrients you need to ensure a healthy mouth.
Maintaining Excellent Oral Hygiene As You Age
If you are having difficulty brushing or flossing your teeth due to mobility issues such as arthritis, ask your dentist for help. There are many tools available to help mobility-impaired people keep their teeth in excellent condition. These include toothbrushes specifically designed to be easier to manipulate, as well as floss holders that are easier to use than regular floss.
You should also do your best to maintain a healthy diet. If you have lost teeth and find it difficult to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, talk to your dentist about tooth replacement. If you notice any symptoms that you may be developing problems, such as gums that bleed when you brush, seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent additional issues with your teeth.
Call our office today to get more tips in mouth maintenance!