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Knowing how Aging can Increase your Susceptibility to Tooth decay

Older couple swinging

Blog Highlights:

  • The roots of our teeth are protected by cementum, a calcified substance that is weaker than the enamel and more susceptible to decay
  • The cementum can be very difficult to treat if it is damaged
  • Gum recession can happen as a result of periodontal disease, or because of plaque buildup
  • Tooth decay can also occur if old dental restorations get worn out over time
  • By maintaining the proper oral hygiene, you can keep your teeth in good condition even if you get older

Your teeth need your attention on a daily basis simply because plaque will work non-stop to cause tooth decay. Tooth decay is a problem that people of all ages can encounter. As we age, our teeth become more susceptible to decay, this is why it becomes more important for us to take care of our teeth as we grow older.

Our teethes first line of defense is its outer layer called the enamel. This hard outer portion is what protects the crown of our teeth from the acids produced by bacterial plaques. If maintained properly, the enamel can help keep bacteria away from the sensitive parts of our teeth.

Unfortunately, the enamel will only cover the portion of our teeth that is located above the gum line. The portion of our teeth that is located within the gums is covered only by cementum, a calcified substance that covers the roots of our teeth. This substance, however, is softer than the enamel, and it is not capable of providing long-term protection.

One of the most common problems that we can encounter as we grow older is gum recession. As the gums recede, the cementum that protects the roots of our teeth will now be made more susceptible to plaque formation because it is already exposed. And because the cementum is not hard enough to withstand the acids produced by the bacteria, it can easily fall to decay. Dentists also find it very difficult treat tooth decay if it is found on the cementum. Aside from aging, some of the causes for gum recession can include the buildup of plaque, periodontal disease, heredity, and trauma.

As we age, old dental restorations will also start to wear out. These restorations can have minute cracks and crevices that can allow the bacteria to go directly towards the tooth pulp. If these dental restorations are not replaced at the right time, they can also cause tooth decay.

The best way to avoid tooth decay is to make sure that you are able to maintain the proper oral hygiene on a daily basis, knowing the fact that oral health can decline through the years. You need to brush your teeth two times a day, and floss at least once per day. You can also opt to eat healthy food, and you should never forget to see your dentist regularly.

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It's time to clean those pearly whites!