The eyes may be “the windows to the soul,” but our mouth actually says a whole lot about our age—probably more than we want it to say. As we get older, our teeth change, and often our smiles age faster than our chronological age.
The No. 1 thing that ages your mouth? Yellowing and stained teeth. This happens mostly due to diet and acidic degradation of the enamel surface, and bleaching is necessary to reverse the effect.
Reshape your smile.
Braces aren’t just for tweens. As we get older, things tend to collapse inward. That means sometimes when people smile, the corners of their mouth are dark because you don’t see the broadness of the smile anymore. Orthodontia can help to angle teeth back to their original location, realign turned teeth, and improve issues like TMJ, crowding, or bite problems. While some adults may be leery of getting a mouth full of metal, options like ceramic braces and Invisalign are ways to more subtly realign teeth.
Address gum recession.
As we age, our gums may recede due to poor hygiene practices, years of abrasion from aggressive brushing, and/or the reduction of collagen production—the same thing that happens in our skin. Brushing too aggressively can cause gum recession, so consider switching to an electric toothbrush or holding a traditional toothbrush just with your fingertips, which will help minimize the force you apply. Once gums have already receded, you may need to get a gum graft or similar procedure, which will improve the appearance of your smile and protect the tooth’s root.
Swap out metal fillings.
A mouth full of metal crowns or silver fillings. Most new crowns do not require the metal, and tooth-colored filling materials made of resin are better than the old amalgam ones, which weaken teeth over time.
The simplest mouth anti-ager? A smile! A study published in Psychology and Aging found that when subjects looked at photos of the same people making multiple expressions and guessed their age, the subjects said the smiling faces were younger than the ones looking angry or sad. Best of all, this anti-ager is free.