Just as our hair changes with age, our smiles can start to look and feel different as time goes on. This short article from our Glendale dentists is designed to give you more information about how age-related dental changes affect oral health and aesthetics. Let’s get started!
Dental Enamel: The Basics
Your dental enamel is tasked with protecting sensitive tooth layers, like dentin and dental pulp, from irritants as well as bacteria. You’ll notice that healthy dental enamel is usually somewhat shiny, as well as white (though the specific shade varies from person to person). Enamel is non-porous, which means it’s difficult to infiltrate.
One way that healthy enamel becomes thinner and more prone to infection/damage is through tooth-on-tooth contact due to dental grinding/clenching; we call this condition “bruxism.” Some people experience bruxism in times of stress, while others have misaligned bites that result in dental grinding any time, including at night.
You also want to pay attention to whether you’re consuming too many acidic foods and drinks, which put your smile at risk. Anything with a pH level below 4.5 has the potential to soften your dental enamel. Enamel re-mineralizes approximately 30 minutes after acid exposure, so wait at least that long to brush your teeth after eating or drinking.
Speaking of acid, the oral bacteria that live in our mouths—in plaque and tartar—produce their own acids as they proliferate. That is why it’s so important to promptly and completely clear away newly developed plaque and tartar. In areas of your smile where bacteria have built-up, you’re more likely to develop thin enamel or spots of infection.
So, there you have it! As you can see, age-related dental changes can be subtle or dramatic, and they can compound over time. Schedule a personal consultation with our Glendale dentists to get a better idea of what’s possible for your smile.