How your teeth change with age

As we get older our teeth start showing signs of wear and tear; signs like darkening of teeth, gum, tooth decay, loosening of teeth, widening gaps between teeth and finally tooth loss.
These effects can also speed up due to improper tooth and gum care, inadequate oral hygiene and unhealthy eating. Today, Dr. Sameer Sachdev, Cosmetic Dentist at Sachdev Dental Clinic, New Delhi, helps us understand how our teeth change with age and what we can do to prevent these tooth ailments.

Tooth decay. Our teeth are made up of thousands of tiny enamel pores that form the visible part of the teeth. The acids that the bacteria produce in the plaque penetrate the enamel's pores. This can produce a weak spot in the tooth's surface, and the enamel can decay and create a cavity. Therefore, the inner portion of the teeth will melt or decay first.

In this kind of process, the tooth will look like a hardened sponge, which will be noticeable from the outside. Saliva can repair or remedy tooth decay, because it works by calcifying the damaged portion of the teeth. Saliva calcification is strong enough to hold bacteria inside the tartar. This is why people with tartar have less tooth decay.

However, tartar itself can cause holes in the teeth, which can eventually lead to a disease. Saliva gives calcium to the teeth and repair hidden tooth decay every day. To keep the saliva from being more acidic one must drink lots of water on a daily basis.

Plaque build-up. Plaque is a film that sticks to the surface of your teeth. It consists of various forms of bacteria and other such microorganisms. If this biofilm is not removed properly and regularly then the plaque build-up can lead to various dental problems like cavities (caries) or periodontal problems such as gingivitis. It also causes build up of Tartar that is a hard calculus which can only be removed by a dentist.

To avoid plaque one must eat a proper diet (avoid surgery food), stop smoking and regularly use fluoride based toothpaste.

Acid erosion. This is one of the most common dental problems seen among kids aged between 5 to 17. It is caused due to acidic foods and drinks like sweets and fruit juices etc. The various particles present in these foods ferment and produce acids that attack and destroy the enamel of teeth and eventually cause tooth decay.

Staining. Staining is a common disease of discolouring of teeth with time and also due to food habits. As we indulge in our normal life the stains start accumulating on our teeth. Initially the stains show as yellowing of teeth from the normal white. With age the yellow start changing towards brown. One needs to clean teeth properly to maintain natural white teeth.

Appearance of teeth. If we talk about kids, they usually have white teeth. If he or she has yellow teeth, they need to visit their dentist. It may lead to a serious dental problem. As we enter the age of 13, our teeth slowly start turning yellow. In the early thirties, teeth start looking more yellow than white. As we grow older the colour changes to brown. At this time changing or lighting the colour becomes a big challenge.

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