Dental Changes As You Age

As you age, it’s not just your skin, hair and shape that change. Your teeth, gums, and bones age, too. And those bones include your jawbones.

“Even your dentures age,” says Dr. Carol Ford from her Phoenix dental practice. “Your dentures wear down with use and cleaning, and while some people wear the same dentures for 15 years, they should be replaced every five years or so.”

When dentures are replaced, they can help keep the shape of your mouth so your chin does not move forward and your upper jaw seem to shrink back.

“Of course, dentures aren’t the only way to create a more stable face,” says Dr. Ford, ”Dental implants can create the same stability of the facial shape, as can the procedure in which permanent bridges are attached to implants.” That procedure is called All-On-Four, a longer-lasting solution to a younger-shape face.

What gives older people that aged looked, with a long nose, ears and sunken mouth? According to Dr. Oz’s website, “Bones stop growing after puberty and muscle and fat cells also stop dividing. But cartilage – that’s the plastic-like stuff in ears and noses – cartilage continues to grow until the day you die. Not only does cartilage grow, but the earlobes elongate from gravity. And that makes ears look even larger.”

You can’t escape aging, but you can prevent some of the detrimental effects of aging. One of the natural changes in your teeth is that the dentin (the tooth’s middle layer) begins to get darker. That makes teeth darken and yellow. Add years of smoking, coffee- or tea drinking, and your teeth may be significantly darker in your 50s than in your 20s. “Fortunately, teeth can be successfully bleached or veneered, giving your mouth and face a more youthful look,” says Dr. Ford.

True, good dental care is not a facelift, but it is a healthy way to keep your face looking younger while your jaws and teeth continue to hold their shape and serve you well into your senior years.

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