As we age, our bodies go through many changes. Our teeth are no exception! After decades of use, our teeth can change shape, our enamel can weaken, and they just don’t work like they used to. The more you know about how your teeth and mouth can change with age, the better prepared you will be when those changes happen. Hopefully, you can seek help from your dentist to help avoid any major dental issues.
The enamel is the strongest tissue in your body. It protects your teeth from harmful bacteria and other substances. However, it is not invincible. Over years of use, the enamel on your teeth can become thin. Unfortunately, this can increase your chances of developing cavities. In addition, wear and tear on your teeth can change their shape. This means that the edges and ridges of your teeth can erode, making eating a more difficult activity.
Certain conditions that can speed the wear on your teeth include temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) or teeth grinding. These conditions create more stress on your teeth, which can damage your enamel. In fact, you are more likely to chip or break your teeth with TMJ or teeth grinding. If you have these problems, it may increase your age-related issues with your teeth as you get older.
Dry mouth is a condition in which your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva. This may seem like more of a nuisance than a significant issue. However, saliva is essential for a healthy mouth. Your mouth is a moist environment, which means it must remain that way to stay healthy. If you don’t produce enough saliva, harmful bacteria will multiply and thrive. Unfortunately, this can increase your chances of developing additional dental problems, such as tooth decay or gum disease.
Saliva helps neutralize bacteria and rinse your mouth of food particles. Without saliva, this bacteria will thrive. Additionally, saliva is necessary for breaking down food and helping your swallow. In fact, saliva is crucial for the beginning stages of digestion.
With age, you naturally produce less saliva. As a result, you may develop other dental concerns. Another cause for dry mouth is medication. Unfortunately, some medications have dry mouth as a side effect. As we get older, we may need to take medications that include this side effect.
Receding gums occur when the soft tissues of the gums begin to pull away from the teeth. Typically, gum recession is a result of poor oral health. Plaque irritates the gums, causing inflammation and swelling. As a result, the gums will begin to pull back from the teeth. If poor oral hygiene causes gum recession, more plaque will build along the gum line, which can worsen the process.
Another cause of receding gums is age. As we get older, our gums naturally begin to recede. Unfortunately, this can expose the roots of our teeth, loosening our teeth. The gums provide stability to teeth. Without them, it is possible for your teeth to fall out.