How Our Teeth Are Affected As We Age
A quick look at what happens to our teeth as we grow older.
Apart from very early on in life, most of us will have at least some of our teeth right up until we die. The quantity and quality of those teeth will depend on how well we take care of them and whilst some people may think that teeth are only important to help us to eat, they also play a big part in other aspects of our lives.
An attractive smile can help to form relationships and friendships, and, in addition to eating, our speech depends quite heavily on having healthy teeth. If you want to test this, try talking without your tongue touching your teeth; it is almost impossible!
As our teeth are important, it is useful to understand how they change as we grow older.
When we are first born, we have no teeth, or rather, they have not yet erupted through the gums. This usually happens at around 5 months onwards, although this can vary from child to child. Even before they come through though, parents should keep the gums of the baby clean as this can help to prevent problems when they do finally erupt.
Although baby teeth are not permanent, they should still be looked after well. Not only will they help a child develop by enabling them to eat a wide range of foods, but poor quality teeth, or teeth that have to be extracted, can also affect speech development. If this happens, it can have a significant impact throughout their lives.
Baby teeth last for a number of years and tend to fall out at various stages. Some even last into our early adult years. Because of this, we should take good care of them and not let our oral care slip just because they will eventually fall out.
The teenage and early adult years
By our early twenties, most of us will have lost our baby teeth and will now have our permanent adult teeth. Whilst we may take these for granted, it is worth remembering that they will hopefully last you for the next sixty years or so, depending on how long we live.
Unfortunately, they don’t always get off to the greatest start. The teenage and early adult years can be quite challenging for our teeth. A greater degree of autonomy means that many teenagers have relatively independent financial means that allows them to buy sweets and other sugary foods at will. This rise in high sugar and energy drinks are especially harmful to our teeth and are popular with this age group.
In addition to the above, it is quite possible that cigarettes and alcohol will come into play around this time and it isn’t hard to see what a challenge it can be to have healthy teeth by the time you are in your middle age. As parents, the best that we can do is to encourage our children to clean their teeth well and make sure to keep appointments at Alexandra Dental Care to have their teeth checked on a regular basis.
By the time we arrive at our forties and fifties, it is likely that our lifestyles will have settled down and we hopefully have reduced our sugar intake and quit any harmful habits such as smoking. We will also probably have started to notice signs of ageing such as greying hair, a ‘middle age spread’ and also the fact that our teeth have lost their sparkle.
This dulling of the teeth doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with them, but simply that years of staining, combined with a natural darkening of the teeth as we get older has occurred. Unfortunately, no teeth whitening toothpaste is going to make much difference to this, and, if you wish to restore the whiteness of your smile, you will need to see our Ashby and Burton cosmetic dental team for a teeth whitening procedure. This is a great way to restore the whiteness of your teeth.
The later years
The later years of our lives can be the best and the worst. There is no getting away from the fact that the longer we live, the more likely illnesses are. That said, it is also a time when many people have the money and time to do things that they enjoy, without many of the pressures of our earlier lives.
It is also a time when our teeth may start to suffer. The years of wear and tear may well result in some breakages and also, sometimes, the need to have teeth extracted. In the past, this would have meant either leaving gaps in our teeth or wearing dentures. Increasingly though, we are seeing more and more older patients at Alexandra Dental Care who are opting to have the more stable option of dental implants placed.
Whatever age you are, your teeth are, and always will be, important. Please don’t neglect your teeth and make sure that you are seen regularly by your local dentist, and preferably a dental hygienist, too. If you live, or work, in the Burton and Ashby area and are not yet registered with a dental practice, now is a good time to start. You can make an appointment to see one of our friendly dental team by calling us on 01283 216347.Google+