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Fab Teeth and Gums after Fifty!


Article by Dr Susan Tanner MRD RCS(Eng) MSc BDS(Lon) and Dr Fiona McKillop

Looking after our teeth and gums  is essential in our 50s and beyond- for both health an cosmetic reasons. Here we look at just some of the options for a healthy and more youthful smile!

looking after your teeth and gums

Our teeth will naturally age as we reach our fifties and on, and can still look beautiful if they are well cared for.

Teeth naturally age with the effects of the wearing away of tooth surfaces. This can be caused by teeth grinding against each other, which shortens the length of tooth, and eventually the proportion of the lower face. If the lower face measurement becomes reduced it can appear very aging, with the lips losing their fullness and folding in on each other. Your dentist can restore the original height of surface to the teeth and so give you what is sometimes called a “dental face lift”!

The long term scrubbing action of tooth brushing eventually wears the surface of the tooth enamel. As it becomes thinner the naturally darker colour of the dentine shows through, subtly changing the colour of the teeth. This change in tooth colour often compliments the changes in skin tone and hair colour and can look good. Do not be tempted to bleach or restore your teeth to an unnatural ‘too white and bright’ colour. This can actually be false looking and aging.

Gentle bleaching for subtle changes in colour can work if it is controlled and used occasionally.

Avoid food and drinks that stain

Do remember that the colour of teeth can be substantially changed by the staining effects of foods and drinks, such as red wine, and coffee and tea, but the very worst culprit is nicotine staining from cigarettes. Make sure that you see your hygienist regularly so your teeth stay naturally clean and healthy.

Another way the whole surface of the tooth wears is because of the deleterious effects of acid in our diets, again making the teeth appear a little darker in colour, because the acid dissolves away the surface of the enamel allowing through more of the colour of the darker dentine. Take care to control how much acid you consume remembering any fizzy drink including carbonated water is acidic, as is salad dressing, wine, fruit juices and teas…and never ever drink hot lemon water as so often recommended in the beauty pages in magazines!

We will lose our teeth due to gum disease and damage to the hard structures of teeth. Of course it is never too late to improve our oral hygiene regimes to thoroughly clean the teeth and gums removing all of the offending bacteria and food debris that causes the damage.

Teeth provide support for the face…

However, missing teeth in the dental arch can cause us to change our diets if we cannot chew properly and also affect our confidence that might stop us smiling and having a full social life. Remember your teeth support your face and stop it caving in. Replacing the gaps whether with fixed bridges on teeth or supported by dental implants, or even with a removable denture will have incredible benefits. The ability to smile and laugh without any hesitation exudes youthfulness and confidence and exercises those facial muscles that keep us looking younger.

Smoking and alcohol not only age our skin faster as we get older, but are both a cause of cancer particularly in the mouth. Give up smoking and do try to limit your alcohol intake particularly spirits.

Your dentist and hygienist are there to help you to improve and maintain your smile, visit them regularly and discuss any problems you might have. There are so many treatment that are now available for really FAULOUS TEETH AFTRE FIFTY!

 Dr Fiona Mackillop stresses the importance of not forgetting our gums!

Fabulous Gums at Fifty

Dr Fiona Mackillop stresses the importance of not forgetting our gums!

As with most things, if we want to keep it longer and at its best then we need to maintain it.   Keeping teeth and gums healthy should be incorporated into everyone’s beauty routine.

Many people find that as they reach their fifties, they suddenly have more free time and expendable income.  Instead of focussing on children, they can finally say – what about me now!

Gum disease can lead to tooth loss and age is a risk factor. Regular dental check-ups and cleaning can prevent the problem. Early detection can prevent problems later.

However people do lose their teeth, as they get older.  Although dentures can be a successful way of dealing with this problem, many women find that wearing dentures is embarrassing and a stigma of aging. Dental implants can eliminate the need for removable dentures. Dental implants give patients back the confidence to smile and laugh in public – without the fear of a slipping plate.

teeth with whitening trayGum recession

As a population, we are keeping more of our teeth. Gum recession occurs when the gum margin moves away from the neck of the tooth. It exposes the root surfaces and makes the teeth appear longer. The darker shade of the root also noticeably affects the shade of the crown.  Many people comment on a long in the tooth appearance.

One dictionary definition of long in the tooth – is a woman who has passed her prime.  A smile rejuvenation procedure is an effective and straightforward way to eliminate this problem. The gum is placed back to the original level and has an immediate and often dramatic result.

Porcelain crowns and bridgework has often been in place for decades. The porcelain does not age I the same way as teeth and there can be a marked discrepancy in colour. Occasionally there can be a dark line at the neck where porcelain and tooth meet. Refurbishing dental work can be a very effective method of rejuvenating a smile.

There has been an increasing trend in adult orthodontics. It is now common for adults over 50 to have teeth straightened. This not only improves the appearance, it can also make the actual ability to clean the teeth easier. There are a number of discrete orthodontic  options that are popular with both men and woman.

It is a not unusual for women to feel that teeth let them down. ….

 

Dr Susan Tanner is a Specialist in Prosthodontics and Dr Fiona Mackillop Specialist in Periodontics at www.dawoodandtanner.co.uk . Both will be speaking at the Anti-Ageing Show at London Olympia on May 10th and 11th if you would like to learn more . There is a special ticket offer for Fab after Fifty readers – see details

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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