Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Are Your Teeth Getting Long?

Are your teeth starting to look longer as you age? 
Long appearance of teeth due to aggressive brushing
Ever hear the phrase “long in the tooth?”  Well, this phrase was originally used to refer to older people and horses.  Unlike humans, horses teeth continue to grow as they age, which indicates that horses with long teeth are older.  However, human teeth don’t continue to grow with age, but they can appear to look longer as people age.  There are many factors that can explain why teeth appear to lengthen as people age….

·        Gum Recession –  causes of gum recession are as follows…

o   Vigorous Hygiene (bushing too hard)

o   Bruxism – or grinding your teeth (which can also shorten teeth)

o   Extensive orthodontic treatment

o   Trauma – such as an accident

·        Periodontal Disease – In the advanced stages of gum disease, or gingivitis.  This is an infection in the gums and underlying bone.  When left untreated, bacteria begins to destroy the underlying bone and gum tissue leaving teeth mobile, or wiggly, while exposing the root of the tooth. Over 70% of Americans have some form of gum disease.  This can only be treated by your dentist.  This is also the number cause of premature tooth loss and can cause many health concerns, including cardiovascular problems.

·        Habits

o   Chewing ice

o   Smoking or using smokeless tobacco

o   Certain recreational drugs 

It was once thought that losing our teeth was part of the natural aging process.  However, we now know that with proper care, healthy habits, healthy diet and regular dental visits premature tooth loss can be a thing of the past. If you have noticed you are starting to get “long in the tooth” talk to your dentist about your options. Dentistry has come a long way and there are many options to help you maintain a youthful smile for your entire life! 
Written by: Carrie Owens

Dr. Cisneros maintains a practice in Freeburg and Columbia, IL. Both are in the Greater St Louis, MO area. For more information on a wide variety of subjects, please visit www.advanced-smiles.com

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