Do teeth get brittle with age?

The answer to this question is mixed. Human teeth are generally designed to last a lifetime but since our lifespans increased dramatically and often our habits changed for worse it became a lot more challenging.

It’s important two consider two external layers of teeth separately – first one, called dentin is the living part inside each tooth and research shows that it actually grows weaker with age in some people. This layer is similar to your bones – you can keep it in good shape by a proper diet that includes calcium, and vitamins like D, K2, C and E. Please note that hormonal changes related to menopause or pregnancy may worsen the situation. Weaker dentin may also cause your fillings to fall out as they age, but don’t worry – they can be easily replaced to a new ones!

The outer part of your teeth – enamel is not affected by your diet and overall health and it should not get brittle as you age. However it may get brittle regardless of your age if you do not care for your mouth properly. This includes: having too low pH levels in your mouth, grinding your teeth, having tooth decay or gum disease and not using fluoride or hydroxyapatite products in your oral care regime. Worst case scenario is having multiple problems at once – please not that if your enamel is weakened also dental procedures like scaling (dental cleaning) may further damage your teeth causing hairline cracks called craze lines.

What can be done to keep your teeth in good shape:

      have a good healthy diet that includes calcium and vitamins D, K2, E and C – you can read more on this topic in other articles on our site
      if you are grinding your teeth consider using a mouth guard during nighttime, and try to avoid this habit during daytime
      visit your dentist regularly (at least twice a year) and keep good oral hygiene
      do not use your teeth as a tool, they are meant for chewing food, not for opening packages, bottles, or chewing hard objects
      if you have acid reflux consider elevating head side of your bed by at least 6 inches
      if you’re mouth breather consider taping your mouth for the night so that your teeth will be constantly bathed in a saliva

The bottom line:

Teeth can get brittle with age, but it’s up to you if this happens or not. With proper care your teeth will last a lifetime!

This article is a part of our Q&A series in which we give detailed answers to our readers' questions. Have a question? Don't hesitate and send it to us to get a detailed answer!

This Q&A series article is complete and was last updated on January 11, 2020.

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