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How teeth and gums change as you age and how to keep them healthy

As you age, your teeth can change in a number of ways. Some of these changes are natural, while others may be caused by health problems or lifestyle choices.

Here are some of the natural changes that can occur to your teeth as you age:

  • Teeth may become yellowed or stained. This is usually caused by the build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. Tartar is a hard deposit that forms on plaque. Both plaque and tartar can be removed by brushing and flossing.
  • Teeth may become worn down. This can be caused by grinding or clenching your teeth, or by chewing on hard foods. Grinding or clenching your teeth is called bruxism. It can be caused by stress, anxiety, or certain medications. Chewing on hard foods can also wear down your teeth.
  • Teeth may become loose or fall out. This is usually caused by gum disease or tooth decay. Gum disease is an infection of the gums. Tooth decay is a condition in which the bacteria in plaque eat away at the tooth enamel.

Here are some of the changes that can occur to your teeth as you age that may be caused by health problems or lifestyle choices:

  • Teeth may become chipped or cracked. This can be caused by accidents, sports injuries, or grinding or clenching your teeth.
  • Teeth may become discoloured. This can be caused by certain medications, smoking, or drinking too much tea or coffee.
  • Teeth may become sensitive. This can be caused by gum disease, tooth decay, or certain medications.

If you are concerned about changes in your teeth, it is important to see a dentist for a checkup. Here at Cotteswold House our dentists will be able to assess your teeth and gums and recommend treatment options to help keep your teeth as healthy as possible. Combining this with a visit to the hygienist will also make sure any plaque or tartar deposits are cleaned away, giving you the best chance for staying on top of your oral health.

It’s not just teeth that change as we age; our gums form a large part of our oral health and there are concerns we all need to look out for as we get older to help prevent lasting damage.

Receding gums
Receding gums occur when your gums pull away from your teeth, exposing the tooth roots and creating sensitive pockets where bacteria can build up, causing inflammation and decay. There are several reasons why gum recession occurs, such as genetics, smoking, hormonal changes or a lifetime of brushing too hard, making it a common form of gum disease in older patients. Unfortunately, gum recession cannot be reversed, but early treatment is key to help stop it and prevent it from getting worse.

Bone and muscle loss
Changes in your facial structure as you get older, such as loss of bone and muscle tone, alters the dimensions and contours of your face. These natural changes can create sagging skin where pockets are formed, which makes it easier for food particles to get stuck. All this makes it harder for us to maintain a clean mouth (and fresh breath!) so it’s important to be thorough in our daily oral routines.

How to maintain health teeth as you age
To help tackle some of the problems that aging creates, here are some tips to keep your teeth healthy as you age:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Use a mouthwash that contains fluoride
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • See your dentist for regular checkups
  • Schedule regular visits to the hygienist

By following these tips, you can help keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong for many years to come.

Next steps
If you have any questions about changes in your oral or dental health, or would just like to schedule a check up, please contact our Cotteswold House Dental Care team 01452 345635 or email to arrange an appointment.

Cotteswold House Dental Care is a family-owned dental practice that offers a relaxing and friendly atmosphere that can give you complete peace of mind whilst protecting your smile. Our in-house services include general dentistry, children’s dentistry, dental implants, dentures and bridges, whitening and composite bonding, advanced treatments such as root canals and oral surgery, Invisalign, and many more. We welcome referrals from other practices as well as self-referrals, and offer direct access for our BlancOne teeth whitening treatment.