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How do my teeth - and my smile - change as I age?

The older you get, the more prone you are to tooth and gum problems that can affect your smile. Gum disease and erosion (when gums recede) are more likely as the soft tissue around your mouth gives way. You lose bone mass as you age, and that can cause your teeth to shift. As you age, you produce less saliva and may get dry mouth, a condition that can cause cavities and gum disease and ultimately tooth loss. Older teeth also wear down and get shorter, and nerve sensitivity lessens, so you may be unaware of a problem until it's caused damage to your tooth or gum. You may develop a "gummy" smile as your lower teeth become more exposed. Good dental hygiene and regular dentist visits can head off some of these effects on your smile.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
As you age, your teeth get worn down naturally, and the soft tissue around the mouth descends. This can leave you with a Richard Nixon smile -- showing all lower teeth and no upper teeth. Teeth are going to move until they touch something that will make them stop. That might be a tongue, dental appliance, or other teeth. As teeth wear down and get shorter, this changes the normal tooth/gum ratio and gives the "gummy smile."
YOU: Being Beautiful: The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.