Tooth decay, periodontis (gum disease), gum recession, yellowing of teeth and halitosis (bad breath) are, alas, typical signs of aging. If neglected, damage and decay visibly exaggerate our aging as we become literally “long in the tooth”. Moreover, our jaw weakens and our cheeks hollow out. As with most things, some people are lucky and have good dental genes, others not so. Regardless, everyone needs to invest in their teeth to keep unpleasant and often costly treatment at bay.
This chapter looks at the ideal oral routine and best practice. Should we need, nonetheless, an oral makeover or more serious work there are a wide range of treatments today to give us back our smile, confidence and more youthful appearance. Those discussed include: teeth whitening, crowns, porcelain veneers, dental implants and gum grafting.
• Brush your teeth at least twice a day. As eating softens the enamel, wait for 30 minutes after a meal to let the enamel harden again.
• Don’t brush too hard – you will damage the enamel.
• Use dental floss once a day to keep gums healthy.
• Mouth washes can kill the good bacteria as well as the bad in your mouth leading to mouth ulcers. Don’t overdo them.
• Visit you dentist every six months.
• If you’re concerned about the negative publicity fluoride has received from some quarters of the medical profession, there are non-fluoride toothpastes available. The main article even gives you the recipe for a diy toothpaste free of fluoride. If halitosis is a problem, consider an antibacterial toothpaste.
• Eliminate smoking which eventually causes “crows-feet” around the corners of the mouth and stains the teeth yellow with nicotine.
• Be aware red wine, coffee and some types of tea will darken teeth.
• Limit acidic foods and beverages which corrode tooth enamel.
• Chewing sugar-free gum neutralizes acid by generating saliva. However, masticating gum is not the most attractive habit so you might not want to do it if you’re socializing or meeting the queen!