How Your Mouth Changes as You Age

Our bodies change continuously throughout our lives. Our mouths are no different. We go from teething and the appearance of primary (baby) teeth to a full set of adult teeth. And as we move through adulthood, our oral health continues to change, often in response to the commitment we make to taking care of our gums and teeth.

Regardless of whether changes to our mouth come from the level of care we show our mouth, or from other circumstances, your cosmetic dentist can assist you in resisting the negative consequences of aging. They can help you maximize your oral health and show your face to the world with a winning, natural-looking smile.

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3 Significant Oral Health Changes To Your Mouth That May Be Due To Aging

  1. Tooth loss/facial collapse. Seventy percent of American adults have lost at least one tooth, and as we age, the chance of losing many or most of our teeth can increase, due to tooth decay, injury to one’s natural teeth, or even periodontal disease. Tooth loss leads to loss of bone density in the jaw, and eventually this causes significant aesthetic and functional issues for the person experiencing it. This “facial collapse” can be rectified with dental implants, which have the added oral health benefit of preventing further bone resorption in the jaw.
  2. Stained teeth. When our natural teeth become discolored, it can be from extrinsic staining agents such foods and beverages, or intrinsic factors such as taking certain medications. Our tooth’s outer layer of enamel also thins as we age, revealing more of our dentin below. Extrinsic stains may be alleviated with teeth whitening treatments; intrinsic staining can be corrected with the application of porcelain veneers over teeth in your “smile zone.”
  3. Dry Mouth/Xerostomia. Older adults can be particularly vulnerable to dry mouth, which can cause tooth decay or gum disease. Many types of medications, including those for depression, urinary incontinence and Parkinson’s Disease, can induce dry mouth. Your dentist can suggest oral health strategies, such as chewing xylitol gum, that can minimize the impact of dry mouth on your teeth and gums.

“Getting older doesn’t have to mean a reduction in your smile’s attractiveness, nor your body’s oral health,” says Dr. Carol Ford, the founder of the dental practice Dr. Carol Ford & Associates. “Your dental provider can provide solutions that will keep your smile bright and healthy for years to come.”

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