The Secret To Looking Young? Proper Tooth Care.

 It’s no secret that people love to look as good as they feel. And, with the wide array of skincare, cosmetic procedures, and makeup trends out there, there’s no shortage of ways to look as young as you feel. But do you know what the number one thing that contributes to youthful looks is?

It’s not Botox, or fillers, or even a good moisturizer. It’s your teeth.

Many people don’t realize just how much teeth factor in with how your face ages, much less realize how essential it is to maintain proper dental care in order to preserve their appearance. Let’s take a look at what you can do to ensure that your pearly whites keep your face in tip-top shape.

How Your Teeth Shape Your Face

If your grandparents had dentures, then you yourself probably saw just how different their face looked when they had them in versus when they had them out. Losing your teeth changes the shape of your jaw, resulting in “shrinkage” as your mouth folds in on itself. As a result, you can get a softer, smaller jawline with sagging skin and the look we often associate with the elderly.

As we age, our teeth start to lose volume and start to change shape after being worn down over time. This, along with the staining that tends to come with age, can affect your overall appearance, resulting in a look that might make you feel “old.” 

What You Can Do At Home

If your teeth are in fairly good shape, you may not need to worry about shrinkage just yet. That said, you should still be doing everything you can to maintain your dental health. 

Maintaining proper brushing and flossing habits are the first step you should be taking. According to the CDC, you should brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily, as well as make regular dentist visits to ensure your teeth are in good shape.

If you’re worried about the color of your teeth, you can always try using a whitening toothpaste. Typically, they’re gentle enough to be used daily, and over time you’ll end up with a whiter smile for a fraction of the cost of a professional whitening.

What The Dentist Can Do For You

In addition to yearly check-ups, dentists can actually help you with the cosmetic aspect of tooth care as well. For whitening and braces or retainers, you’ll need to go to an outside specialist, but there are other areas you can discuss with your dentist.

If you’re missing any teeth, ask your dentist about dentures, bridges, and implants. With dentures, you’ll receive a whole or partial set of prosthetic teeth that are removable. Your dentist will take a mold of your gums and create a set of teeth that will match your bite; they’ll also adjust it to sit perfectly in your mouth. Dentures are removable, and you keep them in place with a special adhesive that goes on your gums.

Implants are permanent additions to your mouth, with a post added where the tooth was and a crown fixed on top. Implants do tend to be more expensive than dentures, especially when you’re missing many teeth, but they do not move. They’re also an easier option if you’re only missing a few teeth rather than most of them.

A bridge is like the halfway point between dentures and implants. If you’re missing one tooth or even a few teeth in one area, you can have false teeth attached to crowns to “bridge” the gap in your mouth. This can be done with crowns on two natural teeth, two implants, or with metal wings. Like implants, they stay in place permanently, but without the surgery needed to add the posts to your jaw.

Alternately, if your teeth are healthy but you’re not pleased with how they look, you can also ask your dentist about adding veneers to your teeth. Veneers are a thin outer “shell” that cover one or all of your teeth in order to hide imperfections like stains, discoloration, and chips. A few of the methods you can look into are:

  • Composite veneers, where the dentist uses a tooth-colored resin to conceal imperfections

  • Porcelain veneers, where your tooth or teeth are sanded down and a thin outer layer of porcelain is attached to them

  • No-prep veneers, where a small amount of enamel is removed and the outer shell is attached

  • Removable veneers, where you have a retainer-like set of veneers that you can pop on and off whenever you’d like

Porcelain and no-prep veneers are custom-made for your smile, but can be quite pricey. Be sure to ask your dentist about all your options so you can find the best one for you.

What Cosmetic Surgery Can Do For You

While a plastic surgeon can’t give you new teeth, what they can do is help the area around your jaw. Even with healthy teeth, the shape of teeth change over time, which can in turn change the shape of your jaw. This results in the softened look that people associate with aging.

Cosmetic surgery can firm up your jawline in a number of ways. A facelift is perhaps the most common way people combat the jowls that can form around the jawbone as we age. 

In this procedure, the surgeon will cut a small incision and reposition the fat and muscles that have sagged back to where they should be. Once they finish with that, they tug up the skin gently and cut away the excess. This results in lifting the skin in a subtle way that will leave you looking refreshed and youthful.

There are also non-surgical ways to lift the skin around your jaw, such as with fillers or Botox. These are special, subdermal products that add lost volume to the face–most people have probably seen them used with lips and cheeks, but you can add them to your jaw as well to achieve a youthful, full-faced look.

While plastic surgery can help with the shape of your jaw, your focus should really be on maintaining your dental health in order to help achieve a more youthful look. Not only that, but by taking good care of your teeth, you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble and pain with dental disease and tooth decay. With healthy teeth, you’ll find it easier to eat and speak as you get older as well–both of which are part of staying young at heart!

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