The Wisdom of Tooth Care

Keeping our faces looking top notch is a priority for most of us. We slap on sunscreen as soon as the rays amp up their brightness and take care to cleanse, exfoliate, tone, and moisturize our skin.

Another thing we can do to help us look our best is pay attention to our teeth. It’s a good idea to get a dental check-up and cleaning every six months to a year to make sure we have healthy mouths. However, as we age, we need to pay extra attention to our teeth.

“Think of your teeth like scaffolding,” Dr. Uchenna Okye, cosmetic dentist at told online health and wellbeing magazine Healthista. “They support your cheeks, lips and anything that shifts this architecture affects how youthful you appear. As we age lots of changes take place in our gums due to hormones and approaching menopause and our teeth shift.”

Ever heard of the expression “long in the tooth”? Well, that refers to another hallmark of ageing – shrinking gums. The saying originated with horses as their teeth grow with age. In fact, it is possible to gauge how old a horse is by examining its teeth.

Cosmetic dentistry has improved so much in the last 30 years. Crooked teeth, for the most part, no longer have to be subjected to wire braces, headgear, elastics (props to those who went through that fun period!). Instead there are clear plastic trays available that serve the same purpose. There are procedures available for gum improvements as well as whitening. Yours truly has had success with the whitening kits available from drug stores (that being said, check with your dentist before using).

Even a simple whitening goes a long way to improve one’s appearance. Oral hygiene product brand Oral B recently conducted a study where two thousand British people were asked to estimate a model’s age in a photo. The first photo showed a woman with a sparking white smile; the second of the same woman but with discoloured teeth. The results showed that people assumed the woman with the discoloured teeth was 13 years older than the one with the white smile.

Along with the rest of our bodies, teeth naturally age. Our white teeth dim with age partially due to lifestyle habits such as drinking red wine, tea, and coffee but also because the dentin inside our teeth yellows and shows through our thinning enamel.

Also keep in mind there is growing evidence that our mouths are directly connected to the health of the rest of our bodies. Some now say there is a link between gum inflammation and diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and respiratory problems. Scientists say bacteria from gum infections travels through the bloodstream and can trigger inflammation in organs and tissues. We’re still researching this but will be sure to write another post on this interesting topic.

In the meantime, take care of those pearly whites!