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How Do Teeth Change as We Get Older?

As we age, our bodies and our smiles continue to change; from gummy baby smiles to awkward family photo smiles and eventually, smiles showing a life well-lived.

Keeping your mouth healthy as you age isn’t just important from an aesthetic purpose, it’s also important functionally.

Regular dental check-ups are a great way to keep an eye on the health of your teeth as you age, ensuring any decay or dental issues are diagnosed and treated.

However, how does age impact the overall look and health of your teeth?


Baby Teeth vs Permanent Teeth

The first glimmer of a little white tooth popping through the surface of your babies’ mouth is always exciting, as is the loss of their first tooth and the visit from the generous Tooth Fairy.


Number of Teeth

As children grow, they have a total of 20 baby teeth, also known as primary teeth – 10 in the upper jaw and 10 in the lower jaw. Although baby teeth ultimately fall out, it’s important to take great care of these little white gems to ensure the best dental hygiene for your child going forward.

However, adults usually have a total of 32 teeth – 8 incisors, four canines, eight premolars and 12 molars (including wisdom teeth).



Baby teeth aren’t just a cute indicator your baby is growing up – baby teeth assist a child with biting and chewing, speech and impact the way jaw bones and facial muscles develop. They also play an important role as a place holder and guide for permanent teeth.

Adult teeth have more prominent shapes, with each type of tooth designed to have a different function.

  • Incisors (front teeth top and bottom): cutting teeth
  • Canines (four ‘pointy’ teeth’): tearing teeth
  • Molars (12 wide back teeth): grinding teeth

Factors That Impact Teeth Health as You Age

While teeth are incredibly resilient, their health and even appearance can be impacted by a number of factors as you age.


Wear and Tear

Over time, teeth can take a battering from daily grinding, crunching and gnawing on food, as well as consuming acidic types of food and beverages, which ultimately works to wear down the outer layer of your teeth, known as enamel.

This weakened enamel can result in issues such as decay, inflammation and infection, as well as a higher chance of chipped or broken teeth.

At a regular dental check-up, your dentist can diagnose any potential issues and treat any cavities that may have formed.



Another issue that may impact the health of your teeth is periodontitis, which is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue in your mouth. If the disease spreads, it can attack the bone, resulting in loose teeth, tender or bleeding gums, sensitive teeth and painful, swollen gums.

This disease starts with plaque, but risk factors such as smoking, hormonal changes, obesity, genetics and certain diseases can increase your chance of developing periodontitis.

Periodontitis is more prevalent in the elderly, with biological changes as a result of age, medications and other chronic diseases playing a role in the effects and onset of periodontitis.


Book Your Dental Check-Up at Glen Forrest Dental Care

Keep your teeth in their best health with regular dental check-ups with our team at Glen Forrest Dental Care.

Based in Perth hills, Glen Forrest Dental Care provides professional dentistry to customers of all ages, with a range of services from dental check-ups to cosmetic dentistry.

So what are you waiting for? Call Glen Forrest Dental Care today to book in that long overdue dental check-up or book in online today.

Free onsite parking available for patients.