Dr David Hills, dentist, and founder of iNeeda Dentist, shares with us how our dental doctors can help us win the battle against ageing.
Have you ever heard the phrase ‘long in the tooth’ and wondered what it was all about? Well, it turns out that it originates from horses whose teeth continue to grow throughout their life. An old horse has longer teeth and thus their length can be used to determine their approximate age. But what has this got to do with the humble human you ask?
Firstly, have you ever seen an older person with noticeably long teeth? This is usually due to gingival recession, a condition caused by excessive wear and tear or gum disease where the gums literally recede thereby making the teeth look longer. So humans too can be long in the tooth (quite literally!) which makes us look old too.
Read on for tips on how to stop gum recession and other ways to maintain the mouth of a 20-year-old–no matter what your age.
Oral care basics
Firstly, people often don’t think about too much about the texture of their toothbrush, but I would always recommend soft bristles over hard. A soft-bristled toothbrush is a wiser choice as hard bristle brushes tend to damage the gums and increase gum recession (making you ‘long in the tooth’).
Secondly, you should avoid using a whitening toothpaste on a regular basis, due to their abrasive qualities. In order to remove stains from the teeth, whitening pastes contain abrasive elements that unfortunately also damage the gums and cause gum recession if used regularly.
Lastly, you should always maintain good oral hygiene as this helps to prevent the gum and periodontal disease that ultimately results in gum loss and recession.
Whitening and veneers
With age, the structure of our teeth changes, resulting in a darker appearance. Add to this the years of coffee and wine and our teeth become even more discoloured. One of the easiest ways to roll back the years is by whitening your teeth with a professional take-home kit purchased from your dentist, or with an in-chair whitening procedure at the surgery.
Furthermore, if your teeth are chipped, discoloured from root canal treatments, or covered in fillings or crowded, porcelain veneers could be a great option for you in the ageing fight. Porcelain veneers make teeth appear whiter, straighter and more youthful looking.
Platelet-rich plasma injections
Dentists are delving more into facial cosmetics including platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections and wrinkle relaxers like Botox. And given we are specialists in the face and its structure, we have a better understanding than most nurses who give these injections.
You are probably familiar with the procedure known colloquially as the ‘vampire facial’ where blood is collected and the platelet-rich plasma is extracted and injected back into the face. PPR injections were first used in 1987 in open heart surgery but today they are used safely in many fields including sports medicine, orthopaedics, cosmetics, faciomaxillary and urology.
When used in the face, PPR injections stimulate the body’s own healing potential to rejuvenate the skin and impart a more youthful appearance. It’s important to note that there is actually no red blood being injected into the face (the PRP is clear) and that dentists also use PRP when placing dental implants to speed up the healing around them. The technique can also be used to repair gingival recession (receding gums), which instantly makes for a more youthful smile.
Drinking from the fountain of tooth (youth)
From injectables to whitening, veneers and oral care basics, there are plenty of tools in the dental arsenal that can help you fight the onset of ageing.
About Dr David Hills, founder, iNEEDa Dentist
Dr. David Hills is a dentist and the founder of iNEEDa Dentist, a comparison website that connects Australians with their ideal dentists. Bookings can be made 24/7, and patients can also compare dental clinics that are child-friendly, service certain health insurance providers, include x-ray facilities, offer weekend appointments, offer free Wi-Fi, or even have Netflix to transport them while their treatment is performed. It includes 3D virtual tours of dental clinics, videos intros to dentists, and reviews.