Did you know that there is an aging process of teeth? Ever wondered how old you would seem based solely on your smile? More specifically, do you ever wonder if your dentist would be able to accurately determine your age based on the health, or problems, of your smile? Dental issues, from staining to decay, are common as people age. That said, many of them are avoidable. If you want to maintain a youthful looking and healthy smile, you must simply make sure you’re taking the necessary steps to protect both your teeth and gums from the most common signs and symptoms of aging. Aging can affect your dental health, and what you can do to slow down the aging process on your teeth.
Acid Erosion and Aging of Teeth
Acid erosion is a major cause of aging in teeth. Sugary and starchy foods are the culprits behind acid erosion. When you consume these foods, the simple carbohydrates ferment, causing the bacteria in your mouth to produce acids that can erode your tooth enamel, forming small pits that are vulnerable to tooth decay.
To prevent acid erosion:
- Avoid consuming refined sugars, especially those found in sports drinks and sodas, both of which also contain acids
- Avoid in-between-meal snacks because they can cause high levels of acid in your mouth for a prolonged period of time. If you do snack, eat firm, fibrous fruits and vegetables, like apples or celery, or cheese.
- Chew sugarless gum when you crave sweets. When you chew, you increase your saliva flow, which helps neutralize acids and clean your mouth. You should also chew sugarless gum or rinse your mouth with water after meals, especially when you eat something starchy or sugary.
- Brush your teeth twice daily, for at least two minutes each time, and floss once daily. Proper, daily oral hygiene will reduce bacteria levels in your mouth. But wait at least 30 minutes after eating sugary, starchy, or acidic foods because your enamel needs time to harden.
- Visit your dentist every six months for dental checkups.
Aging of Teeth by Mechanical Wear
Teeth’s main purpose is biting and breaking down food so that your body can digest it more easily. Aging itself does not cause teeth to become more brittle, but if you continue to chew and bite with a damaged tooth, you are only worsening the issue.
Particularly susceptible to serious damage are teeth that have undergone root canal therapy or have fillings because they have already lost part of their natural structure.
Bruxism (grinding and/or clenching), is also a serious issue because it can eventually wear down the biting surfaces of your teeth.
How to prevent mechanical wear:
- Avoid eating ice and other hard foods because they can wear down the tooth enamel.
- Be cautious when eating food that is pitted or deboned, because pits and bones could crack already vulnerable teeth and cause damage to healthy teeth.
- Schedule regular dental appointments. Dr. Fondriest or his hygienist can check for signs of damage, decay, or dental restorations that need to be replaced. He can also check for the signs of bruxism.
Great Dental Care Can Limit Aging of Teeth
Preventive care is one great way to keep your smile looking its best, even as the years pass. This should include daily hygiene at-home, but also routine dental visits. Most dentists recommend visiting at least twice a year for a dental cleaning, though if your smile seems particularly susceptible to cavities, or if you have been struggling with gum disease, you may require more frequent cleanings to protect or even restore your oral health.
Don’t Settle for an Incomplete or Damaged Smile
In the case of noticeable damage like chips, cracks, or even worn edges caused by years of teeth grinding, restorative treatment could likely help to improve both your confidence and your comfort. Porcelain dental crowns are designed to look incredibly natural while still offering sturdy protection against further wear, for instance.
If your smile looks aged due to purely cosmetic issues, then treatment like professional teeth whitening or porcelain veneers could likely help!
Want to Maintain a Youthful Smile?
Do you look older than you feel? If you’ve tried anti-aging products but something is still missing, you might need to look at your teeth. Changes in your body when you age can affect your teeth, as can the accumulation of daily wear. Dr. James Fondriest, a cosmetic dentist serving Chicago’s North Shore, can help you keep your teeth healthy and beautiful, no matter what your age.
If you are in need of restorative or cosmetic dental treatment, call Lake Forest Dental Arts in Lake Forest, IL, today at 847-234-0517. Just keep in mind that ongoing preventive dental treatment is the best way to protect the smile.