As you age, it’s inevitable that your body isn’t going to work the way it used to and some concessions and changes will have to be made. Your teeth and gums, however, are also casualties of aging. Even if you are incredibly diligent about brushing, flossing, and getting regular exams and professional cleanings, an aging smile is prone to more problems than a young smile. Here are three of the most common developments, and how to fix them.
1. Gum Disease
Nearly half of all American adults over the age of 30 have some form of periodontal disease. Once people reach the age of 65, prevalence rates increase to over 70 percent. Gum disease varies in its severity from person to person, but people who are keeping up with preventive dental care are more likely to catch periodontitis before it becomes too severe and painful to treat. Untreated gum disease can cause tooth loss and receding gums, and symptoms of gum disease include swelling, bleeding, or sensitive gums – all things that you should have checked out by your dentist no matter what you suspect the cause to be.
Because aging comes with its own blend of new ailments, gum disease may also develop because of a problem with the immune system – often compromised during cancer and its treatment – certain medications that decrease saliva and cause dry mouth, and hormonal changes like menopause. Gum disease, an inflammatory condition, has also been linked to strokes and heart attacks.
If your teeth are loose, you’re not past the point of no return. Visit your holistic dentist to first have your periodontal disease addressed and cleaned up, then discuss restorative dentistry options like zirconium dental implants that can give you back a beautiful smile.
2. Cracks and Chips
Have you spent years gnawing on ice, chewing on pens, or using your teeth to open bottles or bags? Your aging teeth are already at a greater risk of deterioration – unconscious actions like these are just asking for trouble. Older teeth are more prone to breaks and chips. They’ve been working for decades to chew your food after all. Perhaps you have old silver fillings – unhealthy just by themselves – and they’re falling apart and taking your enamel along in the process. Even small cracks might as well be as big as the Grand Canyon – they offer a space for bacteria to invade, which can lead to tooth decay and cavities.
If you have any surface issues that you’re suffering with now, it’s time to make corrections before nuisances become unavoidable problems. Cosmetic dentistry procedures like porcelain veneers and lumineers or dental crowns and bridges can cover any unsightly breaks and protect your teeth at the same time.
Who doesn’t want a brighter, whiter smile? As you get older, stains can settle in on your teeth and be nearly impossible to eliminate with daily brushing. Whether medication has browned your smile, or whether your devotion to coffee or dark teas and colas have sipped your smile into disrepair, there are simple ways to undo the damage.
Teeth whitening is always the first option to explore. For the right candidate, one Zoom treatment in the dentist’s chair can reward them with a pearly white smile. People who are particularly sensitive to the bleaching agents in teeth whitening treatments can take advantage of a Venus Whitening that might be offered by your holistic dentist.
If your dentist determines that teeth whitening will not repair your smile, then it’s time to discuss more involved cosmetic dentistry options, like porcelain veneers or the less-invasive lumineers by Cerinate.
Schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Yolanda Cintron at Fort Lauderdale’s International Center for Dental Excellence to discuss your concerns about your aging smile and solutions for your unique concerns.