How Your Smile Changes as You Age and What You Can Do About it
As we age we may see a few more wrinkles and a few more gray hairs in the mirror, but we also may notice that our smile looks a little different. Even if you had braces as a teenager, that’s not a guarantee that your teeth won’t shift and change as you get older. Here at Oldham Family Orthodontics in Kyle, we treat patients of all ages, and that includes older adult patients! Here are some ways that your smile and teeth may change as you age, and what you can do about it.
The older you get, the more the bones of your upper and lower jaw can weaken. As the bones lose their original strength, it can cause teeth to shift inwards and turn. Because it’s such a slow process this can be hard to notice at first, but once you do see significant changes, they can usually be corrected without super invasive measures. A lot of adults like Kyle Invisalign or clear Kyle/Buda braces so they can move their teeth back into position in a subtle way.
Higher Rates of Oral Issues
“Today, three-quarters of people over 65 retain at least some of their natural teeth, but older people still suffer higher rates of gum disease, dental decay, oral cancer, mouth infections, and tooth loss.”- From Harvard Health
Even with regular flossing and brushing, older people can develop gingivitis, which can turn into periodontal disease if left untreated. Periodontal disease occurs when a buildup of plaque in the shallow trough between the tooth and the gum develops over time. Infections and inflammation of the gums and bone that surround and support the teeth can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth. In these cases bone can also be lost, and the teeth may loosen or even fall out.
According to the CDC, 47% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease. Because periodontal disease increases with age, about 70% of adults 65 years and older have periodontal disease. This condition is more common in men than women (56.4% vs 38.4%), those living below the federal poverty level (65.4%), those with less than a high school education (66.9%), and current smokers (64.2%).
Thankfully, periodontal disease can be treated no matter how old you are! Using a combination of scaling to remove the hardened plaque and infected gum tissue, (and in some cases antibiotics), surgery shouldn’t be necessary unless the case is advanced and severe.
Everyone wants a bright white smile, right? Unfortunately, teeth have a tendency to yellow as you get older. This happens because the dentin inside the tooth can show through as enamel wears down. Dentin is that part of the tooth that is beneath enamel and cementum. It contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). The more acidic foods and drinks you consume, the more likely it is that your teeth will get more yellow. If you’re a coffee, wine, or tea drinker, be sure you’re brushing your teeth a little more often. If you chew or smoke tobacco, you may also notice that the coloring of your teeth has changed. Quitting smoking will not only prevent stains on your teeth, but it will also decrease your risk of periodontal disease, as mentioned previously.
You can keep your smile shining bright by brushing and flossing more often, but also consider using over-the-counter whitening strips, or asking your dentist or Kyle orthodontist about the teeth whitening services they offer.
Ways to Keep Your Teeth Healthy As You Age
- While you alone may not be able to do much about your teeth shifting position, you can protect your teeth and keep them healthy by doing the following:
- Protect your enamel by not chewing ice or hard candy or anything that is ultra crunchy or damaging to your teeth.
- Invest in a night guard if you tend to grind or clench your teeth at night. A night guard will help decrease damage and pain, and protect your teeth from being ground into oblivion.
- Go to the dentist every 6 months for cleanings.
- Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day and limit the number of acidic beverages and sugary foods you consume.
- Use water to rinse your mouth out after you eat or drink anything that’s going to affect your teeth negatively such as a sugary soft drink.
- Keep an optimal balance of bacteria in your mouth by eating fermented foods like certain cheeses, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, natto, miso, and more.
- Boost your immune system with leafy greens and oranges for better overall oral health. Absorb 10-30 minutes of sun rays every day to increase your Vitamin D and improve your immunity.
Visit Oldham Family Orthodontics in Kyle
No matter what age you are, we have the right orthodontic solutions for you at Oldham Family Orthodontics in Kyle. If you’re considering Buda braces, Invisalign in Kyle, or another form of treatment, board-certified Kyle orthodontist Dr. Maxwell Oldham has the right education and expertise to evaluate your individual case. Dr. Oldham and our staff promise to take care of you from the minute you walk in the door until your treatment is fully complete.
“Dr. Max, Olivia, and their team have created an office environment that is warm and welcoming. The Kyle community is lucky to have them. The care they provide is high-quality, cutting edge, personalized and professional. We plan to continue to use this office for a long, long time.” –Google review from Drew B.
We offer comprehensive orthodontic treatment to kids, teens, and adults in the Buda/Kyle area! Can’t make it during normal business time? We’re open for extended weeknight and weekend hours to fit your busy schedule! Visit us today!
If you live in Kyle, San Marcos, or Buda, orthodontics has never been easier.
We provide Kyle/Buda braces and Invisalign in Kyle to kids, teens, and adults.
Call us today at 512-256-7886 to schedule your FREE orthodontic consultation!