It’s a fact that we are all living longer! 40 is the new 30 and 50 is the new 40! So it is more important than ever that we look after and keep our teeth.
Many people reaching their 50’s will have had twice as much dental work than their children will have by the time they reach 50.
Due to the advancements in oral health care products, better education and the extinction of the “school dentist”, the youth of today have an altogether different dental outlook.
So what happens to our teeth as we age?
Even if you have always taken good care of your teeth, you have no doubt noticed that your gums are receding and that your teeth have yellowed or greyed over the years. As you age your teeth become thinner and more prone to breakage. Over time, the teeth endure a lot of wear and tear, even daily chewing can eventually start to wear teeth down.
Aging and some medications can cause loss of moisture in our mouths. Less saliva in the mouth to wash away bacteria makes us more vulnerable to tooth decay, infections, and periodontal or gum disease. Poor gum health can lead to swollen, bleeding gums, cavities, and eventually tooth loss.
How can you take better care of your teeth from your 50’s and beyond?
- Brush your teeth and gums twice a day with a soft bristled tooth brush, this will help protect your gums, whilst effectively removing the plaque from your teeth and gums.
- Floss daily, it is just as important to remove the plaque from between your teeth as it is removing it from the tooth surface. If you don’t like floss there are alternatives like, inter-dental brushes, and electric powered flossers that act like a jet washer for your teeth.
- If you suffer with a dry mouth, don’t suck sweets to increase your saliva flow, the sugar will increase your risk of tooth decay. Try sucking ice cubes or speak to your dentist about artificial saliva products.
- Visit your dentist and hygienist regularly
- Drink lots of water.
- Eat crunchy vegetables and apples with their skin on, they act as a great natural plaque remover.
- Avoid Smoking !!!
What options could you have to make your teeth look and feel younger?
As we age the outer layer of the tooth enamel wears down exposing the underlying layer which is yellower. Food and drink as well as smoking can also cause discoloration.
To whiten your teeth a set of dental impressions of your teeth are taken by your dentist, then some moulds of your teeth are made (whitening trays) and given to you to take home along with a box of dental whitening gel. The gel is then placed into the trays and worn for between 2-4 hours a day over a 7 to 10 day period.
Veneers or Cosmetic Bonding
These can hide discoloration, small chips, cracks or crooked teeth.
Porcelain veneers are thin shells (a little like false finger nails but for teeth), that are custom made to fit directly over your teeth. Porcelain veneers create a very life-like and natural tooth appearance, they recreate the natural look of teeth while also providing strength and resilience comparable to natural tooth enamel, directly over your teeth.
Cosmetic bonding is a dental procedure in which a tooth-coloured resin material is applied to teeth to restore or improve person’s smile. The great thing about cosmetic bonding is that anaesthesia is often not necessary at all and just one visit is required to carry out the treatment
It’s not just a person’s smile that is affected when teeth are broken or missing, chewing function can become impaired which can lead to indigestion and a reduced enjoyment at meal times. Speech can also suffer as we need our teeth to form certain sounds, and without them speech may become slurred and lisping may occur. Dental implants are a simple, secure and permanent solution to the problem of failing or missing teeth. They are effectively replacement tooth roots on which we can build a new tooth and are inserted into same position as the missing tooth. They are indistinguishable from natural teeth and provide an alternative to uncomfortable dentures or bridgework.
So the key to a healthy mouth and teeth is regular dental visits for preventative care.
Teeth need to be cleaned regularly and gums and teeth should be monitored closely for changes and decay. People who keep up their dental care and healthy dental habits enjoy a beautiful smile well into their golden years.