Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How Teeth Age

Weight gain, decreased flexibility and lessened sense perception are some of the side effects of aging.  Changes to tooth appearance and a decrease in dental health also are part of the equation. It is because aging impacts the oral cavity on a multitude of levels that the expression of being "long in the tooth" (a kind way of saying old) was born.
Teeth aging can impact both appearance and dental health. As we get older, the body's systems start to slow down and the biological change will influence every organ, tooth and hair follicle.

A mix of aging skin and shifting teeth can cause a smile to change. As we age, the skin looses its elasticity and can highlight the changes and dental problems occurring in the mouth..  Teeth support and give form to the lower portion of the face and natural shift over time. The combo of thin skin and shifting teeth can cause a myriad of changes to appearance; lips may begin to tip inward and look thinner and teeth with excessive wear and tear can fail to properly prop up cheek fat making cheekbones hollow out and make wrinkles pop! Plus, gums can recede, creating the dreaded long tooth effect.
A lifetime of behaviors can influence other oral changes associated with age. Individuals over the age of 65 who still proudly boast their natural teeth will experience more dental problems than their younger counterparts because of the biological changes that will impact oral health.

 According to the AGS Foundation for Health in Aging, the five most common dental problems associated with growing old are:
- Dry Mouth caused by a natural decrease in saliva production.
- Changes in denture fit caused by changes in teeth and gum lines.
- Gum disease impacted by less effective oral hygiene.
- More tooth decay influenced by less saliva, ill-fitting dentures and gum disease.
- Increased odds of developing oral cancer.
Good oral hygiene practices including brushing, flossing, eating a nutritious diet, exercising and drinking clean fresh water are some of the ways an individual can fight the battle on their own. However, when those efforts are backed by regular dental visits and enhanced with cosmetic dentistry, the results can help a person look a decade younger!

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