Your body never stops changing from the moment you are born. As you grow up, you get longer and bigger while experiencing rapid hormonal changes. When you reach a certain age, your body starts deteriorating slowly, and you start getting smaller. Unfortunately, the change also occurs in your mouth.
Around 3/4ths of people over the age of 65 have only some of their natural teeth while having higher rates of dental diseases, like mouth infections, tooth loss, dental decay, and gum disease. Some issues are due to old age, while others are caused by gradual wear and tear on the teeth. Here are four ways your mouth changes as you get older and what you can do to keep your smile looking fresh and bright:
1. Moving Teeth
Even though you may have spent a considerable amount of time wearing braces in your youth, that doesn’t mean your teeth will stay in their perfect place forever. Your teeth start to shift in place as you get older because your upper and lower jaw weaken, causing your teeth to move inward and turn. Luckily, these changes don’t occur rapidly, so you can use orthodontic devices like braces or Invisalign to revert them to the original arrangement.
However, it’s important to note that shifting teeth can also happen because of periodontal disease. It causes your jawbone to deteriorate, your teeth to wobble, and your gums to recede, which can require surgery to correct if left untreated. If you find yourself in a dental emergency caused by periodontal disease, be sure to visit your dentist right away.
2. Yellowing Teeth
Teeth often take on a yellow hue due to many reasons, including old age. When this happens, the dentin inside the tooth starts to show as the enamel thins, yellowing in the process. Your diet can also affect your teeth’s appearance; coffee, wine, tea, and tobacco are all known to turn your pearly whites into yellow ones.
Fortunately, you can take advantage of many teeth whitening options like dental bleaches, whitening toothpaste, and whitening strips. However, they may not work so well on elderly patients. It’s best to talk to a dentist in Raleigh before resorting to these methods.
3. Worn Teeth
Your teeth are one of the strongest parts of your body, as your molars can press down with incredible strength. However, when you multiply that to over sixty years of chewing, you’ll inevitably wear your teeth’s protective enamel down. As such, they’re more prone to cracking and breaking, which you may overlook immediately as your nerves get less sensitive with age. In fact, you’ll observe the pain only when it’s serious, which means you’ll likely require a root canal.
Although you can’t swear off chewing, you can delay the wear and tear by routinely brushing your teeth, flossing, and visiting your dentist for regular cleaning. Using toothpaste with fluoride also helps since it supplies teeth with the nutrients it needs to rebuild the enamel and keep bacteria at bay.
4. Oral Cancer
Unfortunately, the risk of developing oral cancer—whether of the jaw, mouth, throat, or tongue—increases as you age. In fact, the average age of the demographic diagnosed with these cancers is 62. Luckily, you can catch these conditions early by going to your dentist in Raleigh for regular checkups and cleanings, as cancer is often painless during the initial stages.
Signs of oral cancer include open sores, changes in sensitivity, color, size of the lips, and white or reddish patches. If you notice anything unusual in your mouth, be sure to seek emergency dental care in Raleigh immediately.
Despite your best efforts, it’s almost impossible to fight aging, so you may find yourself with any of these changes as you get older. Fortunately, it’s possible to delay or slow these developments by visiting your dentist regularly and caring for your teeth. Your older self—and your future wallet—will thank you for it.
Dr. Thomas E. Cooke Family Dentistry offers a full range of patient-oriented dental services, including cheap tooth extraction in Raleigh, NC, and dental emergencies. Contact us today to book your next dental cleaning appointment!