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Aging and Teeth Shifting – Why It Happens and What You can Do

Dentist Examining TeethAs we age, we experience many changes in our body, including changes in our smile. Yes, that’s right. Teeth tend to shift from their position as we age. Therefore, problems such as overbite teeth, teeth overlapping, gapped teeth, etc. are common in older people. So, if you suddenly notice a change in your teeth, you’re probably not hallucinating.

There are some factors that result in teeth shifting. Let’s understand each.

What causes teeth shifting?

Skipping Retainers – It is common to assume that teeth correction will last forever, but that’s not the case. If you had braces for teeth correction during childhood or your teenage years but didn’t wear retainers after braces, your teeth will most probably shift back into their natural position. However, the teeth won’t shift overnight. You will start noticing the change over a few years.

Teeth Grinding – Grinding puts a lot of pressure on the teeth, surrounding bone, and gums, which tends to shift the teeth from their position. In most cases, grinding results in the upper set of teeth shifting forward. And though this can be corrected through overbite braces, the treatment may get complicated as you age. Moreover, teeth grinding can also result in enamel wear and gum damage, which eventually lead to severe bite problems and facial changes.

Tooth Loss – Gum disease, injuries, or dental decay can result in tooth loss, which creates extra space. And, to accommodate this change, the rest of the teeth start spreading out. This is why you must have seen many older people with very noticeable gaps between their teeth.

Bone Loss and Gum Recession – With age, your teeth start to appear longer because of bone loss in teeth and receding gums. Moreover, the lower jaw continues to grow forward even when you age. And eventually, when the lower set of teeth starts bumping into the upper set from behind, the pressure pushes the upper teeth forward too. And this movement becomes easy as the tissue, ligaments, and bone in gums become weaker with age. Also, if you have gapped teeth, you can expect it to get worse over time.

How can I stop my teeth from shifting?

Stop Teeth Grinding – Teeth grinding is known as Bruxism in medical terms and is common in people who experience a lot of stress, anger, and frustration. It is one of the most common reasons for teeth shifting but can be controlled. If you experience this problem, follow these tips:

  • Try methods such as meditation to cope up with the stress.
  • Try cognitive behavioral therapy to treat underlying anxiety. This will help you get rid of the teeth grinding habit from its root.
  • Massage your jaw and do jaw stretching exercises before going to sleep.
  • Ask your dentist to fit you with a mouth-guard to prevent teeth grinding when you’re asleep.

Go for Orthodontic Treatment – Crowded, gapped, and overlapping teeth tend to get worse with age. Therefore, it is important to go for braces or any of the other orthodontic treatments for teeth correction before teeth and jaw lose strength. As discussed above, it is especially essential to wear retainers after braces to prevent teeth from shifting back to their original position.

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene – Gum disease can lead to tooth loss and eventually gapped teeth. Therefore, it is important to eliminate the cause of the problem – poor oral health. Following an oral care routine diligently will help tremendously.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Brush and floss your teeth at least two times a day.
  • Use an anti-bacterial fluoride-based mouthwash to clean your teeth if you’re traveling.
  • Go for professional teeth cleaning every six months.
  • Limit soda and alcohol intake.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for routine checkups.

Dental issues can affect your confidence and your health, no matter what your age. So, do not ignore the problems you have been noticing lately. Visit your dentist or orthodontist and check for options that may be best for you to stop your teeth shifting problem from getting worse. Some dental professionals offer on-site visits at senior communities and even in homes.


Author Bio: Sharon Williams’ day job is to handle digital marketing for Koch Orthodontics in Lawrenceville, GA. With a flair for creating compelling content that clears the clutter and connects with the audience in an instant, she writes about dental topics to educate and help her readers. She truly believes that a genuine smile can win a million hearts and talks to her readers about improving their smiles and overall dental health, as well as enhancing their overall lifestyle. In her free time, she likes to organize small meets in her neighborhood where she brings people together to discuss various topics that she writes about.