By: EON Clinics Staff
Given all the wear and tear that our teeth go through during the average lifetime, they are surprisingly resilient. Still, the daily normal use and wear will begin to take a toll. Here’s what happens to teeth as people age:
Acid Erosion Concerns
By far the biggest culprit of acid erosion on the teeth is starchy and sugary foods. These carbohydrates feed the bacteria that naturally occurs in the mouth and causes them to produce acids. Those acids will eat away at the enamel of the tooth causing weak spots that can lead to cavities and breeding grounds for bacteria that can cause gum disease. This boost in the bacteria and acid production that leads to bad breath, gingivitis, and a host of other dental conditions causes the need for dental work. Your local dentist can help you reduce the effects of acid erosion by developing an oral hygiene routine for you to follow.
Mechanical Wear and Tear
Teeth are tough and are made to withstand the biting force required to do their job of grinding up the food we eat. However, at times there may be a weak spot in the tooth and that can cause a crack to form or even cause the tooth to chip or break off completely. Another problem that results in significant wear and tear on the teeth, especially the back molars, is the habit of grinding or clenching teeth, something many dentists are quite familiar with. Commonly referred to as bruxism, it is a common side effect of extreme stress or anxiety and can happen subconsciously when someone is awake, stressed out or annoyed, or even asleep. Over time, bruxism can wear down the teeth and thin out the enamel making the teeth more susceptible to decay.
Stains on Teeth
Foods such as coffee, tea, and red wine will stain teeth. Tobacco can also stain and discolor teeth, regardless of whether it is smoked or chewed. For the most part, stains are a cosmetic issue that can be corrected with whitening treatments. But stains in and of themselves usually do not weaken your teeth, they just make them look less attractive. If you want to have whiter teeth and a healthier looking smile, you need to talk to your dentist and see if your dentist or oral care professional offers teeth whitening procedures. If your teeth are in bad shape otherwise or you have other health issues to be concerned about, your dentist might not recommend whitening treatments, so be sure to discuss it first.
Here are some simple things you can do at home to whiten your teeth.
Called xerostomia, dry mouth will significantly boost the bacteria colonies that live in the gums and teeth and can cause a flare up of gum disease and related issues. Saliva naturally washes the teeth, helps remove some of the food particles, and keeps the acid from building up between brushing, flossing, and rinsing. As we age the production of saliva is not necessarily reduced but dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications that older individuals frequently take. Talk to a dental expert today to see what actions can help combat your dry mouth and protect your healthy smile.
Start Sooner Rather Than Later
It is very important that you take good care of your mouth and teeth and the best time to start is when you are young. If you don't, you could have problems with your teeth and gums later on in life. Here are some simple things you can do to keep your mouth and teeth healthy:
- Brush twice every day using a fluoride toothpaste
- Floss after brushing and after meals
- Use mouth rinse and cleansers if you cannot work a brushing in after eating
- Snack smart by eating non-sugary foods and drinks
- Don't smoke or chew tobacco as they can damage teeth and gums
- Keep all scheduled and recommended dental visits and follow all prescribed care practices
- Learn the common myths surrounding dental care and know the facts to debunk them.
Take steps today to discover the best ways to care for your teeth as you age. Just because you are getting older does not mean you have to sit by a let your teeth wear out. Age alone is not reason enough to allow your teeth to start failing.