It's commonly accepted that at some point in our lives, our teeth may start to fall out. So, it might come as a surprise to you that adult teeth don't just naturally reach a certain age, give up and drop out of your mouth. Disease and trauma are the key factors in tooth loss, so if you take good care of your teeth, there is no reason you can't keep them later in life.
Adult teeth don't just naturally reach a certain age, give up and drop out of your mouth.
Keeping your teeth for longer
Losing teeth is a result of oral disease, not specifically the process of ageing, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.
Good oral hygiene is the best way to maintain healthy teeth and keep them in your mouth for as long as possible. That means brushing morning and night with a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush, and also flossing regularly.
You might have come across the phrase 'getting long in the tooth'. As you get older, gums may start to recede as a result of gum disease and poor brushing. This leaves the root surfaces of the teeth exposed, increasing the risk of tooth decay, and eventually, tooth loss. Preventative care is important, including brushing properly with a fluoride toothpaste, steering clear of sugary drinks and sweet foods and making regular trips to see us for check-ups.
Regular wear and tear can also lead to losing teeth. Sometimes fragments of teeth can break away from fillings, or teeth are chipped from accidents. Fortunately, these problems can be easily managed by a dentist, so you can still hang on to these teeth with proper treatment.
Why maintaining your teeth is important as you age
Keeping your teeth isn't just about your appearance – strong teeth are also important when it comes to eating, overall wellbeing, and speaking. Tooth decay and other dental problems can impact overall health, according to the New Zealand Dental Association. Oral infections have been linked to cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, and various infections. Staying on top of oral hygiene over the years is important for healthy ageing.
As people get older, maintaining good dental care can become less of a priority as mobility becomes more difficult. However, regular dental check-ups are just as important as ever. If you have an older family member who has trouble getting about, be sure to support them in making and getting to an appointment with us.