Dental Tips to Aging Healthfully
Oral aging portends inevitable changes to many aspects of a person’s mouth and teeth.
In older adults, teeth appear longer and may visibly show decades of wear and tear in the form of yellowing and discoloration, defects, and damage. Furthermore, aging teeth are also more prone to periodontal disease, gum recession, dental caries, and tooth loss. Combined with the more visible signs of aging, oral conditions common in older adults, such as dry mouth, contribute to visibly aged, structurally weakened, and functionally limited teeth.
In the past, dental aging was a fact of life. Past a certain age, most patients would expect to trade in their natural teeth for a set of dentures. Today, there several options available to keep your teeth looking, feeling, and working like they did when you were young.
Flossing and regular visits to Willow Pass Dental Care for checkups are also highly recommended, but brushing is the foundation for an effective dental hygiene routine.
Brushing your teeth is the cornerstone of a healthy dental hygiene routine. We have been taught, told, and exhorted to brush our teeth from the emergence of our very first tooth.
Recent headlines would suggest that sparkling water might not be such a great alternative to just plain old water. But is bubbly, carbonated water really that bad?
8 Tips to Reverse Aging Teeth
1. Brush, floss, and visit the dentist twice a year.
Brush, flossing, and visiting a dentist on a regular basis are the three foundational habits of a healthy dental health routine.
Every plan to prevent or reverse dental aging must be built on these essential practices. Even if you have neglected one, some, or all of these essential routines, it’s never too late to start.
Those looking to prevent dental aging should rigorously adhere to all three. Those looking to reverse visible signs of dental aging, such as discoloration or dental infections, should also brush, floss, and see a dentist regularly as a baseline of care from which to start a dental aging treatment plan.
2. Use a water flosser.Think of a water flosser as a high-tech alternative to finicky string floss. Rather than manually scraping off plaque and food debris with a piece of string, a water flosser shoots a high-speed jet of water and blasts away plaque and bacteria. In use, patients need to only point the nozzle at their teeth and in between their teeth to get a thorough dental cleaning.
When it comes to preventing or reversing dental aging, water flossers are simple and easy to handle and use. Patients with arthritis and other limitations to their dexterity will find water flossers more natural to use and, perhaps, even more effective than regular string floss.Thanks to the ease of use, water flossers do a great job of removing plaque and debris from hard-to-reach parts of the mouth. Remember, when it comes to preventing or reversing dental aging, the key is to control potentially harmful bacteria. Water flossers allow patients with limited mobility to effectively and rigorously clean their teeth, promoting dental longevity.
You also may want to consider using an air flosser. Unlike a water flosser, an air flosser is even more compact and uses a fraction of the water. Air flossers work by shooting a jet stream of moistened air, rather than water, to break up plaque and remove food debris. Thanks to their compact size, air flossers make a great alternative to water flossers for those on the go.
3. Steer clear of staining agents.
One of the most obvious signs of aging teeth is stains and discoloration. It makes sense to prevent visible dental aging; you will need to avoid staining agents, such as tannins, that can permanently alter your teeth’ appearance.
Your teeth can be exposed to staining agents in a variety of different ways. The most common vector for dental stains is through food and beverages. Certain foods, such as artificially colored candies, and drinks, such as coffee, contain dyes or pigments that can lead to extrinsic dental staining.
The way staining works on a microscopic level is that pigment molecules become trapped in tiny pores on the surfaces of your teeth. As teeth naturally age, the outer enamel becomes weaker, thinner, and more porous. Food and drinks rich in pigments, such as chocolate, tea, coffee, and wine, will stain teeth over time.
Acidic substances, such as citrus fruits and soda, will erode dental enamel leading to a condition known as intrinsic staining. Unlike extrinsic staining, the discoloration is a result of thinning enamel and not pigments.
Beneath the white outer enamel is a yellowish layer of dentin. When enamel thins over time due to aging, the yellow coloration of the dentin begins to show through, resulting in yellower, older-looking teeth. If you want to retain young-looking teeth, avoid pigments, such as those found in tannins, and avoid substances that can erode your enamel.
Another big no-no is tobacco and alcohol. Both of these substances have staining potential as well as cause other adverse oral health effects.
4. Dodge Dry Mouth (Xerostomia).
Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is one of the most common oral conditions affecting older adults today.
Over time, many adults develop xerostomia, which results in the salivary glands becoming less active.
Dry mouth is also a common side effect. While dry mouth may appear to have nothing to do with your teeth, avoiding dry mouth is the key to maintaining a youthful mouth.
Dry mouth is tied to an increased risk for periodontal diseases, cavities, halitosis, and general bad oral health. That’s because our saliva is a potent brew of antibacterial chemicals and replenishing minerals. In a healthy mouth, the teeth and gums are regularly bathed in this healing brew. The saliva washes away excess biofilm and remaining food debris control existing bacterial populations while also delivering essential minerals the teeth need to rebuild and remineralize themselves. When there isn’t enough saliva in the mouth, bacteria can often grow unchecked, leading to dental and oral infections that make your mouth look, feel, and smell terrible.
5. Remineralize your teeth.
Your teeth depend on a variety of vitamins and minerals to maintain their overall health and white appearance. When certain nutrients are lacking, they will show in your teeth.
Three essential minerals for teeth are calcium, phosphorus, and fluoride. You can obtain calcium and phosphorus by consuming foods rich in those minerals. Meanwhile, you can achieve fluoride through fluoridated water or fluoridated toothpaste.
All three minerals play an essential role in your teeth’ health, and all three are necessary to maintain a structurally sound, visually pleasing smile.
Calcium and phosphorus, for example, are the building blocks of a tooth, providing much of the raw materials for the enamel and dentin underneath. Meanwhile, fluoride plays a crucial role in not only building up teeth but also disrupting acid production. Adequate fluoridation can even reverse early-stage tooth decay. While fluoride is important for developing teeth, it is also essential to maintain and protect aging teeth from the effects of acid erosion and demineralization.
6. Get dental implants.
One way to drastically reverse aging teeth is to replace your old teeth with new ones altogether. You can accomplish this in several ways – dentures, bridges, dental veneers, inlays, onlays, and dental implants. For many, dental implants are ideal for replacing old and damaged teeth.
Dental implants not only look exceptionally realistic, but they also feel similar to natural teeth. That’s because, thanks to osseointegration, they are functionally an extension of natural teeth.
Here’s how it works.
First, the aged tooth is removed. An implant is then embedded in its place. Then the implants will become fused with the underlying bone thanks to a natural process known as osseointegration.
Once the integration is complete, an artificial crown is put in place. When executed flawlessly, an implant can be visually indistinguishable from a natural tooth. Perhaps more importantly, this dental replacement method has the unique benefit of preventing bone resorption in the jaw. While bone resorption is a complex natural process, the result is a hollowed-out, older-looking face.
Unlike traditional dentures and other teeth replacement strategies, only implant-based solutions can prevent this form of dental aging in edentulous (toothless) patients.
7. Consider gum recontouring.
One visible sign of aging is teeth that are visually too long or too short. Teeth that are too long may be indicative of severe gum recession, which results in aged-looking teeth.
Teeth that are too short in adults can give the impression of teeth worn down over time. One way to adjust the tooth’s visual proportion is to recontour or move the gum line up or down.
For teeth that are too long, gum grafts over areas of exposed roots or severe gum recession can give a more youthful look. For teeth that appear too short, a simple trimming of excess gum tissues to reveal more of the tooth can also give a more youthful look.
8. Get professional teeth whitening.
One of the easiest and quickest ways to reverse visible dental aging is to get a professional dental cleaning followed by a professional teeth whitening treatment.
A professional-grade whitening procedure (along with a rigorous cleaning) can remove extrinsic stains but assist in treating certain types of intrinsic staining as well.
Stain removal is accomplished through a combination of abrasive cleaning and dental-grade bleaching designed to extract intrinsic stains.
Compared to at-home treatments, a professional whitening session often produces far more dramatic results. For maximum whiteness, multiple professional teeth whitening sessions may be necessary.
Best Dentist in Concord, CA
If you want a dentist that will make you feel at home, Dr. Reza Khazaie, DDS and prominent Prosthodontist at Willow Pass Dental Care is the one. Willow Pass Dental Care is locally owned and operated by Dr. Khazaie and specializes in dentistry for the entire family from general dentistry, endodontic treatment, and dental implants.