Author: Dr Uchenna Okoye Category: Health, Dental

Dr Uchenna Okoye, Clinical Director London Smiling is one of London’s top designer dentists with a loyal celebrity following


Over the next few months Uchenna will tackle how changing our smile can make a difference to how we look, but most importantly to our confidence.

This month we’re tackling why do our teeth shift? 

A Shift in the Sands of Time?

Time – for most of us it’s a love hate relationship.  There’s usually never enough time to fit in all the things we want to do so we wish for more time, but, usually when it comes to our appearance and we reach ‘a certain age’ we want less of it, to reverse it in fact.  Just as muscles and skin change with time, so do our teeth.  A very important fact as in the ‘war’ against ageing because the lower third of the face is in fact, the most ageing part, so we need to take care of it!
Why do our teeth shift with age is a question I am often asked, usually from the forties onwards.  Here are some of the reasons and I’ve included some tips on what to do to slow it down.

Wear and tear
Teeth were designed for chewing but certain things can cause damage.  Using teeth as tools such as opening plastic bags or tearing off sellotape (Physician hear thyself! I fractured my own front tooth doing this!) or even chewing mega hard food such ice -cubes cause teeth to chip and crack and with time bits simply break off.  Now, as time goes on teeth must move and shift and no longer meet like they used to.  

Missing Teeth
When you lose a tooth with time the other teeth start to shift and collapse into that space.  This is one of the reasons I will usually recommend a missing tooth is replaced.  Teeth act as the scaffold to frame the skin of your face and you definitely do not want any part to be ‘Missing in Action’,

Gum Shrinkage
Just as the skin loses its elasticity so gums lose their bulk and volume. This can start to appear as gum recession especially if you are not taking care with your brushing.  I always recommend an electric toothbrush to my patients.  It is more effective and also gentler than brushing by hand.  I personally use the new Oral-B Cross Action electric brush

Gum disease
This is huge and many of the challenging cases I have to treat are as a result of this disease.  It results in loose, wobbly teeth as the bone holding the teeth in place gets destroyed by bacteria toxins.
It is so important to see your hygienist and dentist regularly to catch this early. Other medical conditions such as Diabetes, even medications such as asthma inhalers, contraception and antibiotics can all have an impact

Apart from increased risk of gum disease, vital nutrients are also lost.  Smoking kills the ‘good’ cells in the mouth that fight gum disease and so problems progress rapidly.

This is a killer for women, we get a double whammy!   First comes pregnancy hormones, then Mother Nature hits with menopause!  It’s the impact the hormones have on your immune system that causes the damage to teeth so prepare in advance with a good oral health routine, regular check-ups and hygiene visits and make sure your mouth is really healthy if either of these situations are coming up in your life.  A good dentist will also help you do this and talk you through this. 

Many people react to stress by teeth grinding (bruxing).  This gnashing and grinding of teeth results in shorter teeth as they chip and crack.  Teeth start to shift as they are no longer in contact and this can also cause a range of other problems such as headaches and migraines.  Talk to your dentist about making you a night-time retainer.  The plastic protects your teeth

What’s next…
The great thing is to every problem there is always a solution, so look out for my next article with more information on what is available to fix the problem and keep your smile in shape and feel fabulous.

Do feel free to email me any questions you may have to and myself or my team will get back to you.

London Smiling

Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you smile!