Shhh, don’t say “age.” There’s just something about having a nice smile that can give you that little boost of confidence to approach a stranger. Now a days, everyone is looking for a bright, cheerful look. But a healthy, clean mouth can do you a world of good beyond the hopes to impress. Of course, anything that is good for you tends to take effort to maintain, especially with our bodies. And by that, we’ll hint in a whispered tone about this thing called age. Aging teeth happens. It’s more than just what we do to our teeth. On one hand, our teeth can break down naturally and may need to be repaired. As we age, we drink coffee, eat sweets, and brush our teeth too hard—all removing enamel. Not only are we affected by what we deliberately do to our teeth, but also as time goes on, the pulp at the core of our teeth begins to disappear and is replaced by darker dentin (that gray look). It just happens. Or perhaps along the way you get some sort of oral infection, let’s say a root canal–that spine-shivering word you’d prefer not to hear. Or even on the third hand, you may have things you do to your teeth that you’re not even aware of! Primarily, we mean grinding, also known as bruxism. Bruxism is more common with women and tends to happen between the ages of 20 and 40, but can occur with men and during old age as well. Grinding affects your tooth enamel in a negative way. As we sleep, we subconsciously slide our teeth back and forth removing enamel and doing all sorts of damage to our mouths, as if the grind of the workday isn’t causing enough stress already. And speaking of stress, an agitated mindset and its effects on the body also can play into tooth damage as we age. We’re not getting any younger, either. Here are a few consequences of stress: – Mouth sores—both canker sores and cold sores – Aforementioned clenching and grinding of teeth – Bad oral health methods and ill nourishment – Gum disease Oral defections and the goals of a cosmetic dentist So, we’ve come to the conclusion that teeth take work to maintain, especially when we can’t control every aspect of their durability. But this doesn’t mean we can’t keep them looking healthy and clean. The secret is in the sauce, the stew is called cosmetic dentistry and the chef is called a dentist—a cosmetic dentist. Cosmetic dentistry is the branch of dentistry dealing with the appearance of the teeth. In other words, cosmetic dentistry is all about the presentation of a persons’ mouth. Here are the main things cosmetic dentists aim to fix for their patients: – Gaps between the teeth – Receding gums – Crooked teeth – Noticeably shorter or longer teeth – Cracks and chips – Stains and discoloration – Decay – Dental injuries – Mishappen teeth – Weakened teeth – Crowding – Misalignment If you find yourself with one or any of these matters, and you would like to do something about it, rest assured that it can easily be done, no matter your age. The most common procedures cosmetic dentists offer are veneers, crowns, bridges, whitening, tooth-colored fillings, crown lengthening, prep less veneers, and tissue contouring. Although much of your oral health is in your hands, a bright, healthy and ageless smile can be achieved with very little work inside the oral surgery room. Doing some research will do you a world of good, and hopefully now you have the tools and the starting knowledge needed to seek out your path to the twinkling grin you’ve always wanted. Now, that’s something to smile about! Caroline Elliott is a freelance beauty and health writer interested in writing original and engaging content. You can find some of her work on Dr. Riley’s website. She hopes that you enjoy her articles as much as she did writing them.