Unlike wisdom and a good pair of jeans, teeth don’t improve with age. But with advances in dental care, dentures are no longer an inevitable part of your retirement plan.
However, you may not like the way aging affects the look of your natural teeth. Tooth discoloration is common as you get older and an unfortunate part of the aging process.
At Solay Dental in Oldsmar, Florida, our general dentist Dr. Shiva Soleimani takes a comprehensive approach to oral health, providing services that help you keep your natural teeth. But we also want you to love the look of your smile.
Here, we want to explain the link between aging and tooth discoloration and what you can do to keep your teeth healthy and bright.
Aging, general wear and tear, and food choices affect the look of your teeth, dulling your sparkling smile.
The enamel that covers your teeth is strong and durable, protecting the inner part of your tooth (dentin and pulp) from cavities and infections. However, years of chewing and grinding take a toll, causing the enamel to slowly wear away. Enamel loss makes the yellow dentin in the tooth more visible, causing a yellowish tint.
Food and drinks also play a role in age-related tooth discoloration. Your morning coffee and afternoon tea contain pigments that stain the white enamel, creating dark brown spots and yellowing. The acid in lemons, tomato sauce, and wine may also play a role in the enamel erosion that affects tooth color.
Dry mouth, receding gums, and cavities are also more common with age and can contribute to tooth discoloration.
You can’t stop the general wear-and-tear of your teeth that occurs over time, but you can take steps to keep your teeth as bright and white as possible as you get older.
We recommend brushing your teeth after you eat and drink to limit staining and remove acids and sugars from the teeth. Drinking coffee and tea through a straw prevents the liquid from hitting the front of the teeth, which may limit the staining of the more visible teeth.
Regular visits to the dentist for cleanings and checkups also protect your teeth and slow down the effects aging has on oral health.
Quitting smoking is also highly recommended — for your teeth and overall health. The nicotine and tar in tobacco products can cause dark brown and black spots.
If you’re unhappy with the color of your teeth, you may consider cosmetic dentistry to improve the look. Teeth whitening is a popular dental treatment that removes food stains to brighten the smile. Treatment is quick and painless and your results may last a year or more.
However, teeth whitening treatments may not work if your tooth discoloration is from age-related wear-and-tear. Instead, you may consider veneers, thin porcelain shells that cover the front of your tooth, changing color, shape, and size. Results are immediate and last several years.
If you have tooth loss, dentures, bridges, and dental implants are restorative dental options that can improve the look of your smile. We customize dental appliances so they look natural and make you happy.
Discolored teeth are part of the aging process, but you can take steps to protect the look and health of your smile. If you have concerns about discolored teeth, call our office or click the online button to schedule a consultation with our experienced dentist.