Keeping Your Mouth Young

Your teeth are flexible and strong, and can last a lifetime with good care. That’s all good news. But as you age, so do your teeth. It’s not all bad news, because there is a lot you can do to keep your teeth looking young.

First of all, aging is a natural process. Your hair turns gray, you get crow’s feet around your eyes, and your teeth shift and move. Even if you wore braces, your teeth will movedental_tips away from perfect alignment. And because you use your teeth to chew and bite, you wear them down. Smaller teeth mean more space to move. If your teeth are overlapping or if your front teeth seem to be turning, tell your dentist.  “No one thinks getting older is fun,” say Dr. Carol Ford from her Phoenix office. “But there are many ways you can prevent your mouth from showing your age.” Invisalign braces are comfortable and removable. You leave them in all the time except when brushing, flossing or eating, and they keep your teeth in position. “And a smooth, even tooth line makes you look younger when you smile,” says Dr. Ford.

With passing years, tooth enamel wears down, showing the dentin underneath. This makes your teeth get darker as you age. “There are many ways to lighten your teeth,” Dr. Ford explains. “You can use over the counter whitening strips or be fitted for veneers.

You’ll have to repeat the temporary whitening, but veneers can last as long as your teeth.

You may have heard the expression that someone older is getting “long in the tooth.” While your teeth don’t actually get longer as you get older, your gums do recede, and your teeth may look longer. “It’s normal for older people to produce less saliva, and that means more plaque,” says Dr. Ford. “So it’s more important than ever to brush and floss around the gum line” she says. Dr. Ford also mentions other ways to help you keep your teeth younger looking:

  • Drink plenty of water, particularly if your mouth is dry. This helps rinse away traces of coffee or other foods that stain.
  • Chew gum with Xylitol instead of sugar. Sugar contributed to cavities, but Xylitol breaks down plaque and may be helpful in keeping your teeth clean.
  • Snack on raw veggies like carrots, celery, apples, jicama, and cauliflower. These crunchy vegetable help stimulate saliva, keep you away from sugary snacks, and help you get the fiber you need—all in one snack.

“You don’t need to lose teeth because you get older; your teeth were designed to last a lifetime, and with a little care, they will keep your age a secret, too,” says Dr. Ford.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image: Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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