As you age, your teeth age too. Years of everyday wear and tear add up and definitely take a toll. But your body is amazingly resilient and the same is true for your teeth. However, both need watchful, loving care.
Here are 3 things that affect your teeth as you age and what can you do to counteract them:
Gingivitis and periodontal disease (gum disease). The risks of gum disease increase with age.
If tartar and plaque are left untreated, pockets can form at the gum line where bacteria grows and these bacterial infections can cause damage to connective tissue and bone, leading to tooth loss.
•Brush and floss twice a day
•Use a non-alcohol mouthwash
•Be diligent about your twice a year dental check-ups
Chips and cracks and breaks.
The function of your teeth is mechanical – to mash, chew and grind food to make it digestible. Teeth are quite resistant to cracking, chipping and breaking; they do not become more brittle with age. Dr. Hollbrook often sees patients with chips and cracks…commonly from biting down hard on something like an olive pit or a kernel of un-popped corn. Bruxism or teeth grinding caused by stress is another common cause of tooth wear and tear.
•Avoid chewing ice
•Check those olives for pits
•Ask Dr. Holbrook to check your teeth for Bruxism
Tooth decay and cavities.
Two of the biggest threats to your teeth are sugars and starches. These carbohydrates ferment, causing bacteria in your mouth to produce acids which eat away at the enamel of your teeth. Tiny pits form and tooth decay finds those pits, resulting in cavities. Sweetened carbonated beverages are especially harmful since carbonation increases the acid levels in your mouth.
•Curb your sugar craving – chew sugarless gum
•Take it easy on sugary foods, carbonated soft drinks and sports drinks
•Avoid frequent snacking
•Pay attention to your daily dental hygiene routine