Just as you might expect, as the rest of your body ages, your teeth age as well. So what exactly happens to your teeth as they get older and what can you do now to help them out?
The Biggest Threat to Your Teeth
From the first day a tooth pops out of your gums as a child to the last day you have them, the biggest threat to your teeth is acid erosion. This is caused by the sugars and carbohydrates in your mouth that provide food for the bacteria in your mouth. In turn, that bacteria produce acids that can easily wear away the enamel of your teeth. The result of this process is the tiny pits that can widen to become cavities.
As a kid, this might not seem like a big deal, but as you grow older, you’ll want to work at preserving your teeth as much as possible for old age.
While candy and its sugar is a top offender, beware of sweetened carbonated drinks and starchy carbohydrates. All of these foods can cause serious wear to the enamel of your teeth.
Preventing Chips and Cracks
Surprisingly, as you age, your teeth do not become more brittle. They stay as strong as ever. However, if something happens to your tooth that requires medical attention, it could take longer to heal. For example, you could accidentally crack your tooth by biting into ice. Replacing or capping an elderly person’s tooth can cause more pain for extended time compared to a younger person.
This doesn’t mean an older person should start eating mush. It just means they need to be careful and conscious of what they eat.
Keeping Teeth White
Some older patients experience stained teeth. This is mostly a cosmetic issue, though if enough organic compounds from the stain build up, it can cause enamel wear. It’s important to keep your teeth looking as white as possible, at least for their own protection. Make sure to avoid foods that can stain your teeth as much as possible along with using whitening toothpaste every so often. As well, you can visit your dentist for cleanings that will help with the color of your teeth.
Protect Your Gums
The biggest issue that can arise from older age is gum disease. It can happen at any age, but the older you get, the more likely it will happen. When you’re older, your gums are weakened, and there are often more pockets for bacteria to hide. Left untreated, bacterial infections can cause inflamed gums and even bleeding. To prevent gum disease, make sure to floss once a day, brush at least twice, use an antibacterial mouthwash, and eat foods that are good for your gums.
Old age doesn’t mean your teeth are going to fall out and you’ll need dentures. Bad oral health care can lead to your teeth falling out. If you care for your teeth and gums by brushing and flossing, eating the right foods, avoiding sugars, and visiting your dentist on a regular basis, you can have a healthy smile for your entire life.