Some of the most taken for granted tissues in the human body are the teeth. We just tend to assume that they will always be there for us no matter what we do. That thought could not be farther from the truth. Our teeth, while one of our strongest tissues are one of our most exposed and battered tissues as well. We use them every day, and like the rest of our bodies they also age. As our teeth age they require special care; however, taking care of your teeth while you’re young can have a positive impact on the health of your teeth as you enter your golden years.
How Teeth Age
Our teeth age just as the rest of our bodies do. Interestingly enough, scientists aren’t exactly sure what determines our age but there are a few theories. One being that our genes determine the amount of years we will live and how our bodies will function during the course of that time. The second theory is that as damage is done to our DNA, body systems become slowly compromised and eventually shut down. While the science has not been proved either way, it is clear that over the course of a lifetime the structure of the teeth is changed. As we age we lose bone mass and our teeth become more brittle. Years of eating and drinking begin to take a toll on these bones and they become more susceptible to decay. At the same time because other areas of our bodies begin to age it becomes harder and harder to maintain a beneficial oral health routine. Because of this the risk of periodontal disease increases. With periodontal disease comes tooth and subsequent bone loss. Every part of our bodies age, but the teeth and mouth are often the first to show signs.
Prevention Is Key
Every dentist can agree that preventing dental decay and periodontal disease is important for all of their patients. But at this Jacksonville, Florida dental practice we believe that this is even more important for our elderly patients. If you learn and incorporate healthy oral habits while you are young or even middle aged, you can prevent a majority of dental health problems that can plague you in your later years.
The first step in prevention of cavities and gum disease is a trip to your dentist. Here at our Jacksonville, Florida Dental office we can assess your oral condition during your checkup. Then Dr. Shields can let you know what you can and should be doing to prevent any oral disease. Advising proper brushing technique as well as how to floss can empower you to take the best care of your teeth humanly possible.
Caring for Ageing Teeth
No matter which way you slice it, nor how well you manage your oral health, your teeth will change with age. Whether it’s genetics or damaged DNA you can expect the strength of your teeth to begin to diminish. Cracking, breaks, and staining will most likely ensue. As we age the need for dental appliances also often come into play. Root canals, crowns, bridges, dental implants, and dentures may all become a part of your life. As these changes take place, it will become increasingly important for you to learn to adapt your routine. A study published in the journal Age and Ageing noted that functional ability and cognitive function had an extremely strong link with oral hygiene. This is not surprising because as we become older and our joints begin to age it may be more difficult to carry out a daily oral health routine. However, their study – which included 181 home care patients aged 75 years or older – found that oral examination and routine intervention caused the patients to have better oral hygiene. Researchers found that elderly patients who continued to practice their oral health routines twice each day were able to prevent the advancement of oral disease.
Taking care of your teeth is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health and wellness. As you age, make sure your oral health routine is adapting to your specific needs. If you are wondering whether or not your oral routine is helping keep your changing teeth healthy, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shields today. She can evaluate your situation and help you alter your routine to best address your oral needs.