Why Do Our Teeth Age?

Today, changing dietary habits play a major role in the wearing down of teeth. The widespread consumption of acidic beverages and the increase in carbohydrate consumption, especially sugar and sugary foods, can be counted among the factors that negatively affect dental health. Even in the most well-maintained mouth, which is brushed, flossed, and under the control of a dentist every day, wear and flattening are inevitable due to only the daily innocent chewing movement. Changes such as abrasions, erosions, physiological gingival recessions, which result in thinning of the enamel tissue over time, may occur in the teeth that participate in chewing functions throughout life, and darkening of the colors of the teeth can be observed with the effect of chemical factors.

Teeth are not constantly produced and renewed organs like hair or nails in the body. They occur only twice in a lifetime, primary and permanent dentition. Teeth that complete their formation at the age of 12-14 will be used for a lifetime without being renewed. Only 4 teeth formed at the age of twenties join the previously formed 28 teeth, completing the total of the teeth to 32. While the average human lifespan was around 30 years old until the Middle Ages, today it reaches 80-90 years old. In other words, while permanent teeth served people for 15-20 years, this period increased to 65-70 years in the following years. Moreover, the fact that the use of sugary desserts, pastries, bactericidal acids and food dyes added to foods has taken their place in daily life in recent centuries causes the teeth to wear out more during the extended human lifespan. During this period, it is inevitable for the teeth to be decayed, worn, darkened in color, shortened in length, cracks and fractures.

Aging will occur in the teeth in the form of stages throughout human life. In childhood, the tips of the teeth have tiny serrations and the transparent part is quite high. In youth, the serrations have decreased, but the transparencies, namely enamel, are still in place. Due to some drugs used until this period or disruption of daily care, discoloration and yellowing of the teeth occur. Teeth whitening, composite lamination and aesthetic fillings can make the appearance as beautiful as before. At the beginning of adulthood, wear, discoloration and loss of teeth begin to happen to more people. In this period, the image can be restored thanks to whitening, composite lamination and aesthetic porcelain laminates. In the majority of this group, the appearance of the teeth has changed a lot during adulthood. The loss of color and size in the teeth is now disturbing. Since it is a very time-consuming and slow process to come to this state, the person is mostly unaware of this situation. They often find that their teeth don’t look as healthy as they used to, when they look at their old photos, take a close up photo, or warn their old friends or dentists. In this period, gingival disorders, sensitivities and tooth loss are common along with aesthetic losses. Tooth displacement is also a common problem. Removal of these may be with a few simple fillings or may be necessary until all oral restorations. The situation is determined by the individual’s own needs. In old age, tooth loss, shortening of their length, crowding or spacing, sensitive surfaces, gingival recessions, yellowed color, and a worn smile line are inevitable. Even if the teeth have been tightly controlled and there is no pain until this period, various restorations are required to regain function and correct the image. Considering the social position and budget of the person, a simple denture may need applications such as whole mouth porcelain or implant-based prostheses. Regardless of the condition of the mouth and the age of the patient, it should not be forgotten that the same teeth will be used for a long life, and all necessary precautions should be taken to prolong their life.

What kind of procedures can be done to strengthen the teeth in case of aging? First of all, it is useful to mention the importance of regular six-month dental check-ups. After the examination, the dentist will determine the most appropriate treatment according to the amount and etiology of the wear and in many cases will prevent the problem before it occurs. For example, it is possible to keep recessions in the gums under control with routine examinations. Bruxism (clenching) is a very common and tooth-eroding habit. Damage to the teeth can be prevented with the use of night plaque and some relaxing drugs.

If the change is only in the form of discoloration, the tooth can be returned to its normal color with whitening methods. However, in most cases, discoloration is accompanied by other problems such as enamel abrasions, gingival recession, and cavities. In such cases, whitening may not be sufficient, thin ceramic laminates adhered to the anterior surfaces of the teeth can be used to restore the lost function and aesthetics.

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