30s and beyond – What dental issues to expect
There are a number of oral health issues that you may experience in your 30s. These can arise for a number of reasons.
Dental neglect in adolescence
During your 30s is the time when dental repercussions arise from the damage caused in your younger years. The most common issue in this age group is the start of gum disease in those who are genetically susceptible. Those years in adolescence when detailed tooth cleaning seemed unimportant can now catch up with you. Early diagnosis of gum disease is important to ensure you don’t suffer from life long problems and face losing your teeth prematurely.
Previous dental trauma
Some people may have lost teeth from sporting injuries, assaults, and other trauma. While they were younger the teeth may either not have been replaced or they may have been replaced in a temporary manner. Often it is in the 30s that people decide to investigate a more permanent tooth replacement that may involve bridges or implants rather than dentures.
Dietary damage to teeth
Some young people may have been gym junkies! During this period of time, they may have been consuming energy drinks and stimulants like caffeine and Red Bull. Often we find that due to the high level of sugar intake during this period, these people suffer from widespread decay and tooth erosion from acid drinks. Therefore, in their 30s, regular dental check-ups and possibly additional restoration of teeth will be necessary.
Eating disorders or binge drinkers
Some patients may have been binge drinkers or binge eaters in their adolescent years and even into their 20’s. These patients can suffer from erosion of their teeth due to the frequent vomiting they experienced. Patients who had Bulimia nervosa will have used vomiting as a way to dispose of food before it could be absorbed in the gut thereby preventing weight gain while binge eaters often vomit from over eating or may have suffered from acid reflux due to overfilling the stomach. Such acid reflux and vomiting lead to concentrated acid from the stomach entering the mouth and this then literally dissolves the teeth. This can lead to several problems from a mild sensitivity to loss of vitality and abscess formation, and the need for root canal treatment.
Patients may not have received orthodontic care in their teens, which has resulted in misaligned teeth. Straightened teeth not only offer an aesthetically pleasing smile, but also good alignment can make tooth cleaning easier. This assists in the removal of plaque with reduced tartar formation between gapped or crowded teeth. If these oral hygiene concerns are disregarded, it can result in progressive gum disease.
Stains from drinking tea, coffee and other dark beverages (red wine) become more apparent in your 30s. This can also be made more obvious by the wearing down of the outer layer of enamel revealing the underlying dentine that is darker and can take on stain more easily. Ideally, reducing the amount of stain-causing drinks is helpful but regular cleaning with a dental hygienist is advised.
Have you experienced a tingly, uncomfortable feeling when you have something cold? This often develops with age and is a common occurrence for people in their 30s or older. If your gums begin to recede and expose the roots of your teeth, the tooth will become temperature sensitive. This can sometimes be treated by using products sold at the pharmacy but sometimes the dentist may have to provide care to help you get back to drinking cold drinks comfortably again.
Brushing in the correct way can help to prevent receding gums. A soft to medium bristle brush used correctly will help to control the plaque efficiently, reduce gum inflammation and thereby reduce gum recession. Oral hygiene needs to be taught correctly.
Daily stress can lead to dental stress
As we grown up and hopefully mature, we assume greater responsibility not only at home for our families but at work too. This can lead to stress and anxiety. As a result, you can develop destructive habits of clenching and grinding your teeth. As a general rule grinding wears down teeth, while clenching has damaging effects on the jaw joints (known as TMJ’s). Often symptoms include headaches, unusual pain in the facial muscles and neck, limited opening of the mouth, locking of the mouth open or closed and unusual noises may be heard in the TMJ’s (clicking). Jaw movement can also be affected. These conditions need treatment.
Often grinding occurs while you’re asleep, therefore, you may be unaware of the damage being done to your teeth. If you frequently have headaches or a sore jaw after sleeping, see your dentist for an assessment and treatment method, such as a hard acrylic protective mouth guard to wear at night. Other types of oral splint may also help. Find a dentist who has a special interest in TMJ disorders, as this area of dentistry, is not something that all dentists provide.
NQ Surgical Dentistry and your oral health
When you visit Dr Priestland and his team, you will receive all the information you need to care for your oral health in your 30s and on. Detection and prevention of oral health concerns will be discussed and treated with the highest level of expertise and care.