While you may be aware of all the physical signs of aging, most people don’t think about the fact that your teeth are affected by aging as well. September is Healthy Aging Month, which was established over 16 years ago to broaden the awareness of the positive side of aging and to motivate improved health, financial and overall wellness. Factors such as taking certain medications, medical treatments, concerns about financial stability, and natural progression of age can create concerns for your oral health.
What Happens To Teeth With Time
As we get older, our teeth will begin to show signs of aging. Just as our hair loses pigment and turns white, the dentin or inner layers of our teeth will naturally darken or yellow with age. In addition, teeth can also become discolored due to staining from drinks, certain foods, smoking and certain medications. Professional teeth whitening can safely bring back a youthful, bright appearance to teeth. With the advancements in bleaching, whitening stained and discolored teeth can restore years to the appearance of your smile in just one visit.
How You Can Help
Healthy aging for your smile can also be affected by medical treatments and prescriptions. According to The American Heart Association, 32 million Americans are taking three or more medications daily. Certain medications we take can dry out the mouth by reducing the amount of saliva that the mouth naturally produces. This creates an environment for harmful bacteria that can lead to decay or gum disease. Saliva is essential in aiding the digestion process, a healthy oral environment and the sense of taste. A significant reduction in saliva can cause symptoms like burning sensations, fungal and bacteria growth, and cavities. Routine dental exams and keeping your dentist up-to-date on your medical prescriptions and treatments will give you a proactive approach to your dental health.
Factors That Can Contribute To TMJ
Even financial stress can affect healthy aging for your teeth. Stress from financial instability and unclear retirement options have many dentists seeing a rise of bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching) and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) symptoms. Frequent headaches, grinding, clenching, neck aches, jaw aches, headaches and toothaches can be indicators of bruxism or possibly TMD. This joint is comprised of the ligaments, muscles and tendons that are essential for jaw movement, talking and eating. An evaluation by Dr. Kifer can determine the best treatment and prevent unnecessary advanced wear and breakage due to stress.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call us at 479-521-2002!