As we age, our bodies go through a variety of changes. Sure, there are the obvious ones like wrinkles and graying hair. However, bones also become thin and more susceptible to breakage.
Your chance of having osteoporosis increases as you age. Statistics from the International Osteoporosis Foundation indicate that approximately 33 percent of women over 50 and 20 percent of men over 50 experience osteoporotic fractures. Additionally, smoking, drinking, chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, medications, poor nutrition, and decreased physical activity increase your chances of bone loss.
Bone loss is about all the bones in your body, including your jawbone. That’s why your dental professional suggests that dental health is important even as you age.
Jawbone Loss Increases with Age
“Significant changes in facial bones — particularly the jawbone — occur as people age and contribute to an aging appearance,” according to a study from the University of Rochester Medical Center. While jawbone loss shows in your facial features, specifically facial collapse, it also affects you internally as well.
Your jawbone and teeth work together like a finely oiled machine. Your jawbone anchors and supports your teeth. Therefore, jawbone loss can easily result in tooth loss. Conversely, lost teeth may result in resorption of your jawbone. Without the roots from your teeth to stimulate healthy jawbone growth, it slowly wears away.
According to statistics from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, those over the age of 65 have, on average, approximately 19 remaining teeth. Additionally, slightly more than one-quarter have no teeth at all.
Tooth loss doesn’t need to be permanent. Dental implants not only offer the perfect solution for tooth loss, they can help prevent resorption of your jawbone. If you lose a tooth (or two), speak with your dental professional to find out if you’re a good candidate for dental implants.
Teeth Grow Older, Too
Consider if you will, how much work teeth endure by the time someone reaches 65 years of age. On a daily basis, most people chew, crunch, grind, and bathe their teeth and gums in a variety of foods and liquids, including harmful substances such as sugars and acids. It’s only natural that the teeth of seniors differ from those of younger adults.
The good news is that unlike your bones, teeth retain their natural strength. They just don’t retain their pearly white color. Aging teeth grow dingy and stained from the food and drink you consume throughout your lifetime. Additionally, smoking and certain medications can discolor teeth.
Aging doesn’t have to signal the end of a healthy mouth. You can retain your healthy teeth and gums through a lifetime of good oral hygiene. Talk to your dental professional if you have any questions about your dental health, tooth loss, or dental implants.