You may have heard someone say, “That person is long in the tooth.” Some use it to describe a person who they believe is old. The phrase sounds odd. In mature adulthood, our teeth do not continue to grow as we age. It would make more sense to say, “That person is gray in the hair.” There is a reason, however, why someone’s teeth might appear longer the older they get.
Aging and Long Teeth
As we age, our gums begin to recede and to pull away from our teeth. Small pockets or gaps form in the part of the gum adjacent to the teeth. As the gum continues to wear and recede, more of the tooth surface shows. Thus, teeth appear longer. Gum recession occurs for two main reasons: dental care and age. If you clean by brushing and flossing daily and get dental checkups and cleanings every six months, you can prevent periodontal disease, another cause of gum recession.
Several other factors can contribute to gum loss. They include:
- Teeth grinding or clenching as a habit
- Overaggressive tooth brushing
- Use of tobacco
- Hormonal changes in women
If you have noticed food getting stuck around one or more teeth, feel a gap along your gum line, or have tooth sensitivity, you may be losing gum tissue. You may see that a tooth looks longer than others or that all of your teeth appear longer than they used to. Work on those habits you can change, and consult with Dr. Vi about your symptoms.
Should I Be Concerned about Gum Recession?
No one wants their appearance changed negatively by dental issues. If you lose too much of your gum tissue, your tooth may eventually fall out, further damaging your appearance. More importantly, food and bacteria will become trapped in the socket, leading to infection, more gum loss, and a continuation of the cycle.
About Mai Dentistry
At Mai Dental Care we offer you confident, compassionate comprehensive dentistry services. Our goal is to help you achieve a bright, beautiful smile. For our patients who don’t speak English, our office is fluent in Spanish and Vietnamese. To schedule an appointment, call today at 972-530-0552.