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Featuring consumer information from Columbia School of Dental & Oral Surgery
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Oral Health Made Simple: Your Prescription For Knowledge
 PREVENT PROBLEMS
Small BoxAll About Cavities
Small BoxBrushing and Flossing
Small BoxFluoride
Small BoxMouth-Healthy Eating
Small BoxSealants
Small BoxTaking Care of Your Teeth
Small BoxTobacco
Small BoxYour Dental Visit
Small BoxMORE
 CONDITIONS
Small BoxBad Breath
Small BoxCavities
Small BoxCold Sores
Small BoxDry Mouth
Small BoxImpacted Tooth
Small BoxSensitive Teeth
Small BoxTMJ
Small BoxTooth Discoloration
Small BoxMORE
 TREATMENTS
Small BoxCrowns
Small BoxDentures
Small BoxFillings: The Basics
Small BoxGum Surgery
Small BoxImplants
Small BoxRoot Canal Treatment
Small BoxScaling and Root Planing
Small BoxWhitening
Small BoxMORE
 GENERAL TOPICS
Small BoxControlling Pain
Small BoxCosmetic Dentistry
Small BoxEmergencies
Small BoxFill, Repair, Replace
Small BoxKids And Teens
Small BoxOral Health and Your Body
Small BoxOrthodontics
Small BoxPeriodontics
Small BoxSeniors
Small BoxMORE
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Step 1 Prevent ProblemsSimplestepsPrevent Problems
Step 2 Understand ConditionsSimplestepsUnderstand Conditions
Step 3 Explore TreatmentsSimplestepsExplore Treatments

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Your Mouth and Teeth Age, Too

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space placeholder.Tooth Changes.
space placeholder.Changes to Gums.
space placeholder.General Oral Changes.
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As we age, so do our mouths. Even if you take excellent care of them, your teeth, gums and jawbone will change as you get older. Also, as you get older, you are more likely to take medicines or have a disease that can affect your oral health. Here are some of the changes you might notice as you age.

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space placeholder.Tooth Changes
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Chewing, cleaning and normal life will cause your teeth to wear down over time. People who clench or grind their teeth may have more tooth wear than other people.

You may notice that your teeth look darker as you age. That's because aging dentin (the tooth's middle layer) gets thicker and darker. At the same time, tooth enamel thins, allowing more of the darker dentin color to show through. Staining from foods, wine, coffee, tea and tobacco also discolor teeth.

Many older people have more plaque buildup on their teeth. This may not be because of their age. It can be related to physical changes that can make it more difficult to brush and floss every day. For example, people may not be able to clean their teeth as well with arthritis or after a stroke. Or they may forget to do it.

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space placeholder.Changes to Gums
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As you get older, your gums recede from the teeth and your jaw bone shrinks. These are moderate changes. Age alone does not lead to a major loss of the structures that support your teeth. If the roots are exposed, your teeth can become sensitive. Fluoride rinses can decrease this sensitivity. They also can help to prevent decay on the crowns and exposed roots of teeth.

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space placeholder.General Oral Changes
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Many oral changes are not caused by aging. Rather, they are side effects of medicines or other diseases. For example, many drugs and some diseases of the body cause changes in the way things taste. Taste changes can lead to nutritional problems. If food becomes less attractive, people may not eat a balanced diet.

Dry mouth is very common in older people. It is usually a side effect of medicine. Hundreds of medicines can cause dry mouth.

Saliva normally washes away bits of food and bacteria and helps keep your mouth clean. If you have dry mouth, the bacteria and food will stay around longer. This means they are more likely to cause decay.

Over-the-counter fluoride rinses can help protect your teeth from decay. You can moisten your mouth using artificial saliva. Other options are to drink water or suck on sugarless lemon drops.

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