Over 40? What You Need to Know About Your Oral Health

oral health over 40By the time you reach the wise age of 40, you know how your body works and what it needs. Do you know enough, however, about your teeth? Your teeth and gums do not stay the same throughout your life, but the childhood years of losing teeth and the adolescent years of aligning them are not the only times you will experience shifts in your oral health. Here’s what you need to know about your smile once you hit 40.

Sensitivity May Decrease

If you’ve never had a high tolerance for pain, or have experienced anxiety about dental procedures because of how they might feel, there’s good news! The older you get, the thicker the inner tissue of your teeth becomes. This “insulated” part of your tooth, known as dentin, is located between your tooth enamel and the nerves of your teeth. Extra dentin can help minimize any pain response. So that’s great. (And there is always sedation dentistry if you continue to have anxiety about going to the dentist.)

Unfortunately, feeling less pain also means you may not be as aware of developing tooth problems until they’ve reached the point of needing serious restorative dentistry. Seeing your New York City dentist every six months for a checkup ensures that your teeth and gums are being properly cared for and monitored for any changes.

Likelihood of Developing Gum Disease Increases

The older you get, the more likely you are to develop gum disease. Research has found that about half of all American adults have some form of gum disease, whether gingivitis or full-blown periodontitis. Once people reach age 65, the prevalence rates increase to 70 percent. If you think you can just let your body go when you reach a certain age, at least make sure you still take care of your teeth and gums!

Plaque is filled with bacteria, and plaque build-up that isn’t tended to regularly irritates the gums, making them red, swollen, and prone to bleeding. Why should you care about gum disease at 40? Until gum disease reaches advanced stages, it is often painless, and that makes it difficult for you to diagnose on your own. Given years to fester without intervention, gum disease can wreak havoc on your oral health. Regular visits to your Midtown Manhattan dentist for teeth cleanings and exams can keep gum disease at bay.

Older Dental Work May Need to Be Replaced

Many dental procedures, done correctly, can last for decades. However, if you had dental work done in your early 20s, once you hit 40 and older don’t be surprised if things start to go a little wonky.

In cosmetic dentistry, porcelain veneers and dental crowns and bridges can last for 15 years or longer with proper care. Dental innovations are happening all the time – if you’ve been considering improving your smile, after 40 is a great time to do so. You’ll be able to take advantage of the newest developments in dentistry, including painless, non-invasive procedures like Lumineers.

Maybe you received amalgam fillings in your younger years. Made partially with mercury, these toxic placeholders in your teeth will only cause harm the longer you leave them in your mouth. Composite fillings are natural-looking and safer for your oral health and overall health and well-being. This is the kind of dental worth that is well worth replacing, sooner rather than later.

No matter what age you are, make your oral health a priority. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Michael J. Wei, NYC cosmetic dentist, to discuss concerns you have about your oral health, aging, and more.