I qualified as a dentist in 2012 and now lead a cosmetic dental clinic and academy in London, England. A huge part of my role as a cosmetic dentist is teeth anti-aging.
We all know that the natural aging process has an impact on our bodies—causing wrinkles and sagging skin, as well as our hair to go gray. But what a lot of people don’t realize is the impact the aging process has on our teeth and gums.
With age, the look and feel of our teeth and gums can change. Many people notice that they lose what they regard as a “youthful smile.” This is typically a smile which displays more of the upper teeth than the lower. With age, our face drops due to a loss of collagen; consequently, lower teeth become more visible. Other features of a youthful smile include white teeth and healthy pink gums.
There are a number of common dentistry issues that people experience as they get older, which can be incredibly aging. For that reason, there is an emerging and hugely popular trend for teeth anti-ageing.
How to anti-age your teeth
1. Update old fillings and crowns
I have a lot of patients with metal fillings and metal-backed crowns which, with age, can look unsightly due to black marks around the edges.
Crowns were much more common 20 or 30 years ago than they are now, and back then the only option was for them to be metal-backed and opaque. Fortunately, we now have more sophisticated and aesthetically pleasing options, such as ultra-thin veneers.
These wafer-thin porcelain shells are individually designed to cover your teeth, giving them a natural, healthy look. By updating old, opaque veneers with ultra-thin veneers that don’t require any metal, I believe you instantly reduce how old your teeth look.
One 58-year-old woman came to us as she had been told by other dentists that they couldn’t save her bottom teeth due to gum health problems, bite issues, discoloration and movement of teeth. But I used a combination of braces, implants and ultra-thin veneers to realign her bottom teeth and give her back her smile.
2. Teeth whitening
Many people notice brown lines or marks on their teeth as they get older. This can be a result of years of staining from substances like tea, coffee, red wine, and even some antibiotics. Health issues like diabetes, oral cancer, anemia and some eating disorders can also damage tooth enamel, which can result in the yellowing of the teeth.
Teeth whitening is an extremely effective way at making teeth look younger. However, the key to safe and effective teeth whitening is making sure you are sensible.
In my clinic, we have seen many people who have tried ineffective off-the-counter or online kits. One young patient damaged her teeth by filing them and using a highly abrasive material she thought would whiten them. We are increasingly seeing mail-order aligners and braces, and patients being left with bite problems and gum issues as a result.
I would not recommend online kits. Similarly, don’t, under any circumstances, try the dangerous TikTok hacks that suggest using lemon juice and even kitchen products to whiten teeth, as these will erode the tooth enamel and cause more damage.
I would urge anyone wishing to have teeth whitening to consult a dentist. They can recommend safe and effective kits that can be done at home with excellent results.
3. Gum grafting
Receding gums are most common in adults over 40 and, as a result, they’re something that is often associated with looking older. Gingival recession can be caused by periodontal disease, which is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue, but more often it is caused by brushing teeth too hard, improper flossing, tobacco use, as well as abnormal tooth position.
Good oral hygiene is one of the best ways to prevent receding gums. However, once the gums have receded, gum grafting is a fantastic option.
The process involves taking gum from synthetic material or elsewhere in the mouth and then stitching it into the gums. I’ve had this done myself and I found it worked really well. It’s something that I prescribe to a lot of patients who wish to address receding gums and make their teeth look younger.
4. Good oral hygiene
The most important thing that we can all do at home to help make our teeth and gums look younger is to maintain good oral hygiene. This means brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and making sure you floss.
There’s often a lot of debate about whether it’s best to brush teeth before or after eating and I always say that you should eat first, then wait 30-45 minutes to brush; this will give the acids in the mouth time to neutralize.
Taking steps at home to improve oral hygiene will not only help to reduce the buildup of bacteria in the mouth which can result in cavities, but also helps to reduce factors such as discoloration and receding gums.
5. Change your diet
Diet plays a huge part in the aging of our teeth. Drinking lots of fizzy drinks and fruit juices can erode the tooth enamel, which, once it’s gone, is impossible to get back.
So by making simple changes, such as cutting down or eliminating these from your diet, you can help to reduce the risk of damage to the tooth enamel, cavities and the need for fillings and extractions.
Snacking is another huge factor in teeth erosion, so I would advise reducing your intake of sugary snacks.
One of my clients, a 35-year-old male, was experiencing gum issues. He made changes to his diet in order to reduce his consumption of fizzy drinks and snacks. As a result, he had less acid in his mouth, so his gums became healthier, pinker and bled less.