We think about our skin aging with wrinkles, we talk about loss of bone density, and even memory loss as we age. However, have you ever thought about how your mouth ages?
As we get older, normal wear and tear takes place on our teeth, gums and tongue. However, in some cases, age does affect what happens in our mouth and can create issues for your health.
Saliva helps break down food, sweeps away bacteria, and aids in the digestion process. As we age, some of us may produce less saliva. This means that we can lose some of our taste for food and see more bacterial problems.
If you’ve been harsh with your teeth–brushing often with hard-bristled brushes or drinking and eating acidic foods often–you may see a decrease in enamel as you age. Enamel is that hard, outer layer on your teeth, and decreasing it puts your teeth in jeopardy for disease and breaking.
Bacteria can cause diseased gums over time, and usually occurs over age 40. You may start to see your gums receded at the tooth line and the gums pulling away from the tooth.
After age 40, you have an increased risk for oral cancer. Red or white patches on your gums or teeth that don’t heal may be of concern and should be followed up with a health care professional.