There is a common myth that as we age, tooth loss in inevitable. But it’s not true because how your teeth age depends on how well you have cared for them.
For ages, “Long in the tooth” was a prevalent practice done by horse traders where they judged a horse’s age by looking at its teeth. Luckily for humans, there are a lot of options for compensating that and avoiding the effect of tooth ageing.
Our mouth is considered as the main door to our body, which directly controls many of the issues vital to life such as breathing, nourishment, digestion, speaking ability, chewing efficiency and sleep quality etc. So it is mandatory to ensure that you can hang on to your teeth as you age.
Let’s have a look at some of the ways our teeth change with age:
1. WEAR & TEAR OF ENAMEL:
Years of chewing, grinding and biting makes our teeth shorter and changes our bite position. Wear and tear of enamel makes teeth vulnerable to damage and decay. Teeth become worn and the muscles used for chewing get weaker, making chewing inefficient.
2. GUM DISEASES:
Gums get thinner and begin to recede as we age. Many older adults may suffer from advanced gum disease which eventually destroys the gums, bone and ligaments supporting teeth leading to tooth loss.
3. DRYNESS OF MOUTH:
As you age, you start to produce less saliva which causes dryness in your mouth. This inhibits bacterial growth which leads to poor saliva production and various gum diseases etc. Medication is also one of the major cause of dryness.
4. DIETARY FACTORS:
While smoking or consuming tobacco, think beyond lung and heart diseases. Cigarettes and tobacco contain certain chemicals and on prolonged use they can cause various gum, dental problems causing Oral cancer. Quit using tobacco, to be at less risk of gum disease, bad breath, stained teeth and oral cancer. Dental infections caused by these chemicals or bacteria can also lead to pus (abscesses) in the brain and unexplained fevers.
Our teeth ultimately turn yellow as we grow older as the enamel wears away from chewing and exposure to acids from food and drinks.
6. SMALLER NERVES:
The nerves in our teeth often get smaller making them less sensitive as we age. Taste buds too get less sensitive due to which older people often complaint of food tasting bland.
You might be surprised to know how taking simple preventive measures/tips can help you protect your teeth as you age and can help to keep your mouth youthful. Let’s follow these tips:
1. PROPER BRUSHING TECHNIQUE:
Proper brushing technique makes a lot of difference. Brush your teeth and gums at least twice a day for 2 minutes. Brush with a soft bristled toothbrush because it removes plaque from hard to reach places to ensure good oral hygiene. Make sure you add tongue cleaning to every routine.
2. USE ELECTRONIC TOOTHBRUSH:
Electronic toothbrush has been one of the biggest advances in dental care and investing in them pays off in the long run. Improper brushing can lead to plaque build-up, cavities, swollen gums and poor oral health. Electronic brushes have a proper timer and technique to ensure that the brushing is done as per dentist recommended standards.
3. PERIODIC VISITS TO DENTIST:
It’s surprising how many people in India have never visited a dentist. Incorporating healthy habits and periodic visits to dentists at frequent intervals for professional cleaning & regular guidance is the most important activity to prevent tooth ageing.
4. WATCH YOUR DIET:
Eating raw vegetables can help clean your teeth. Moderate consumption of sugar is a must for all age groups. If you do consume acidic foods and beverages like citrus fruits and wine, be sure to rinse immediately with water. Wait thirty minutes before brushing to give your enamel time to toughen up. Quit consumption of tobacco and smoke: it’s a no-brainer!
5. DRINK WATER:
Drinking plenty of water can help decrease the effects of dry mouth reducing the chance of gum diseases.
Flossing on a regular basis is vitally important for older people to prevent dental problems as they are more susceptible to tooth decay. Flossing twice a day for at least 2 minutes helps to prevent plaque from collecting between teeth. Oral Care’s Smart Water Flosser is a must have in every adult’s bathroom closet as it does the job effectively and seamlessly as per dentist recommendation.
With so many options available these days, oral hygiene is not much of a difficult task. Educate yourself and your circle of older adults on these Dental care tips. If you still can’t fix the problem, your dentist would be more than happy to provide you the guidance.