Physical changes are a natural part of the aging process. From graying hair to wrinkles, there are certain things we can expect to see as we get older. Did you know that your smile also changes as you age? Here are five different ways that this happens:
1. Shifting Teeth
You may not realize it but our teeth are constantly shifting over time. That’s why it’s so important to wear a retainer even after you’ve completed orthodontic treatment. As you age, your jawbones weaken, and this can cause the gradual movement of teeth.
2. Yellowing Teeth
Teeth can become more yellow over time due to the foods and drinks you consume, and other habits like tobacco usage. More than that though, teeth become yellow over time due to the wearing down of enamel. Your enamel is the outside, protective layer of your teeth and when that wears away with aging, it reveals more of the yellow dentin inside your teeth. If you are unhappy with the color of your teeth, consider professional teeth whitening. This isn't just a service that appeals to young people!
3. Worn Down Teeth
Speaking of wear and tear, our permanent teeth are meant to last us a lifetime but that doesn’t mean they’re indestructible. After years and years of biting, chewing, and grinding, it's natural for the tooth enamel to wear down. Unfortunately, enamel cannot grow back. During your exam, our team might suggest a service to strengthen and protect your teeth.
4. Dry Mouth
When you’re older, it’s more likely that you’re taking multiple medications. Some of these medications may have dry mouth as a side effect. On top of that, it’s normal for the glands in your mouth to produce less saliva as you age. Dry mouth can lead to bad breath and an increased likelihood for cavities. One of the best ways to combat dry mouth is to drink enough water.
5. Risk of Oral Cancer
The incidence of oral cancer increases significantly after age 60. There are other factors besides age which affect the probability, but since your risk of the disease increases as you get older, it’s particularly important to get regular oral cancer screenings. This way, if there are any issues they can be treated as soon as possible.
A Healthy Smile Through the Ages in Gastonia, NC
Do you need help keeping your smile beautiful and healthy as you age? Contact Gastonia Family Dentistry! Our skilled dentists are here to help you, no matter what part of your smile journey you’re currently on.