Our teeth age just like the rest of our bodies. We can slow down the aging process in some ways, but we can’t stop it completely. These changes happen over time and change the way our teeth look. They also make some dental problems more likely.
The yellow core of the tooth, called dentin, gets thicker as teeth age. This is the most noticeable change. Enamel is the only white part of a tooth. It covers only the visible part of the tooth, not the roots. It is slightly see-through. Most of the hard parts of a tooth are made of dentin, which is yellow and softer than enamel. Each tooth has a small hollow chamber that has nerves and blood vessels in it.
As we get older, the dentin gets thicker and the space inside the tooth gets smaller. Because enamel is clear, this thickening of the dentin makes the tooth look yellow because the enamel is clear.
Because of this change that comes with getting older, there is also less fluid getting to the teeth. This is because the space between the teeth is getting less blood because it is getting smaller. This lack of water makes the teeth more fragile and prone to cracking and breaking.
From the outside, our teeth and gums are vulnerable to the chemical and physical forces we put on them when we eat, drink, and do bad things.
Three different things cause the enamel that covers the tooth to get thinner:
Abrasion is the gradual wearing away of enamel by mechanical means, like brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush or using toothpaste that is too rough (like sandpaper). This makes the enamel thinner and more see-through, so the yellow dentin is easier to see.
Attrition is when the teeth get shorter because the enamel on the biting surfaces wears away. This is usually caused by clenching and/or grinding your teeth at night. This makes teeth look shorter and sometimes broken or jagged.
Erosion is when strong acids break down the enamel on a tooth. This can happen if you drink acidic drinks, have severe acid reflux, or throw up all the time. Erosion also makes the enamel thinner and can make teeth look yellow. Most of the time, the damage is on the inside of the teeth, so only your dentist will be able to see the changes.
Over time, teeth also get stains on the outside, which makes them look darker. When you combine this with the yellowing that comes with internal changes, aging can make your teeth look different.
Most people’s teeth get closer together as time goes on. Teeth tend to move toward the front of the mouth because that is how they grow. Most of the time, this makes the front teeth look crooked and crowded.
Changes in the Gums
With age, gum recession happens to a lot of people. In general, gum recession can be traced back to a cause, such as gum disease, clenching and/or grinding the teeth, or the teeth not being in the right place. No matter what caused it, gum recession is a clear sign of getting older. This is where the phrase “getting long in the tooth” comes from. As the gums recede and show more of the roots of the teeth, the teeth look longer.
How to Slow Down Aging of Teeth?
To stop these changes that make your smile look “old,” you need to make a promise to take very good care of your teeth.
Think about what you eat to keep your teeth as young and healthy as possible. You should stay away from drinks like soda and sparkling water that are very acidic and hard foods that could chip or crack your teeth.
Wear Your Retainers
If you’ve had braces to straighten your teeth, it’s very important to wear your retainers every day. If you don’t, your teeth will shift back on their own, and any crowding will get worse as you age. Crooked teeth make you look old.
At some point in their lives, most people clench or grind their teeth. Some people do it all the time, while others do it more when they are stressed. Heavy forces on the teeth can cause wear, gum recession, chipping and cracking of the teeth, and many other problems. Dr. Motiwala suggests that you wear a protective device to protect your teeth from these problems. This not only keeps your teeth healthy and young-looking, but it also protects against expensive dental work.
Never Use Your Teeth as Tools
Teeth are only good for eating, talking, and laughing. If you use your teeth to open packages, cut online fishing lines, or bite your fingernails, they are more likely to chip or crack.
The only thing on this list that isn’t about prevention is getting your teeth whiter. We can’t stop the internal changes that come with getting older, so we can’t stop the gradual yellowing of the teeth that goes along with it. We can, however, fix it by using products to whiten our teeth.
The fastest and least expensive way to make your smile look younger is to get your teeth whitened by a professional.
More Questions about Aging Teeth?
Call Dr. Motiwala’s Dental Clinic and Implant Center right away to set up an appointment with him. They can answer any questions you have about how teeth change as you get older and help you take steps to prevent or fix problems so you can get the smile you want.
Dr. Motiwala in International Press
Dr. Motiwala is a world-renowned dentist who has cared for thousands of patients from every corner of the globe. He has been featured on several news outlets; to read about it, select the network’s logo below.