20/20 Dental Practice Blog

What happens to teeth as we get older?

Posted by Ronel Van Der Spuy on Apr 10, 2014 10:17:28 AM

Newbury Dentist Gum Disease Treatment

Yes. If you look after your teeth, and visit your dentist regularly, you will be able to keep your teeth for life. Gum disease and tooth decay can be prevented whatever your age.

Given all the chewing, crunching and biting we do, our teeth are surprisingly resilient. Still, everyday wear and tear and the natural aging process can take its toll.

What do gums recede with age?
Your gums may shrink back as you get older, and your teeth may become a little more sensitive as a result. Your dentist will be able to show you the best way to brush to keep any gum problems under control and suggest a mouthwash to deal with the sensitivity.

Should I expect to have problems with my gums?
Most people don't realize how important it is to take care of their gums.
Gum problems are caused by a build-up of bacteria called ‘plaque', which forms constantly on your teeth and gums. You have to remove this plaque to avoid gum inflammation. Gum inflammation will, in time, affect the bone under the gums that supports the tooth roots, so your teeth may gradually become loose.
Do teeth loosen as you get older?
Most adults show signs of gum disease. This affects about 25 percent of 65- to 74-year-olds.
Gingivitis is often painless so you may be unaware that you suffer from gingivitis. Some common signs are:
gums that bleedwhen brushed
• red, swollen gums
• loose teeth
• receding gums
• bad breath
Not everyone has all these signs. You may have only one.

The health of your gums can also affect your overall health. Recent studies have shown a possible link between gingivitis and other diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and premature births.

Can I still get tooth decay?
Yes. The same plaque which causes gum inflammation can cause decay, especially when combined with sugary foods and drinks. There is a particular risk of decay when the gum has receded, as the ‘neck' of the tooth is not protected by enamel.
What are the signs of oral cancer?
Oral cancer most often occurs in people over 40 years of age. See a dentist immediately if you notice any red or white patches on your gums or tongue, and watch for sores that fail to heal within two weeks. Unfortunately, oral cancer is often difficult to detect in its early stages, when it can be cured easily. Your dentist can perform a head and neck exam to screen for signs of cancer.

Keep your teeth for life


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