As we journey through life, it’s not uncommon to notice changes in our oral health. One such change that many individuals experience as they age is the gradual increase in the gap between their teeth, a condition known as diastema. While it may cause concern, understanding the reasons behind this widening gap and taking preventive measures can help maintain a healthy and confident smile. Let’s see the reasons for the sudden gap between teeth and how to prevent that.
Reasons for sudden gap in teeth
1. Natural ageing process
As we grow older, our bodies undergo various transformations, and our oral health is no exception. “With age, the elasticity of the gum tissues and ligaments supporting the teeth tends to decrease. This can lead to a shift in the position of teeth, causing gaps to form,” says Dr Vipin Dehane, HOD-Dentistry and Maxillofacial Surgery, Fortis Hospital, Mulund, Mumbai. While this natural ageing process affects everyone differently, it’s not uncommon to observe a gradual increase in the spaces between teeth over time.
2. Periodontal disease
Gum diseases such as periodontitis can significantly impact oral health, particularly as we age. Dr Dehane explains that these conditions can damage the supporting structures of the teeth, including the gums and underlying bone, leading to tooth loss. When teeth are lost, the remaining teeth may shift, creating spaces between them. The tendency to develop gum diseases increases with age, making the occurrence of diastema more noticeable as we grow older.
3. Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Dr Dehane believes persistent teeth grinding, known as bruxism, can also be a reason for sudden gaps between teeth. As it can exert excessive pressure on the teeth. Over time, this can cause enamel erosion and compromise the stability of teeth. As a result, the teeth may gradually shift, creating gaps between them. The changes caused by bruxism happen gradually over a long period, often becoming more pronounced with age.
While the increase in the gap between teeth with age is a common occurrence, there are preventive measures that can help minimize its progression and maintain oral health.
How to prevent the increase of gap between teeth?
1. Good oral hygiene
Maintaining proper oral hygiene practices is crucial for overall oral health. Dr Dehane advises that brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing regularly, and visiting your dentist for routine check-ups and cleanings can help prevent gum diseases and tooth decay. By addressing these underlying oral health issues, you can reduce the risk of tooth movement and the development of diastema.
2. Wear a mouthguard
If you have a habit of grinding your teeth, known as bruxism, wearing a customized mouthguard while sleeping can provide protection and help minimize the risk of tooth wear and movement. A mouthguard acts as a cushion, reducing the pressure on your teeth and preventing the widening of gaps.
3. Seek orthodontic treatment
If you’re concerned about the gap between your teeth, consulting an orthodontist can provide valuable insights and treatment options. Braces or aligners can be used to gradually bring the teeth back into proper alignment, reducing the gap and enhancing your smile. Orthodontic treatment may involve realigning specific teeth or addressing overall dental arch discrepancies, depending on your unique needs.
4. Consider dental Implants or bridges
In cases where tooth loss has occurred, dental implants or bridges can be considered to fill the gaps and prevent the remaining teeth from shifting. These restorative options not only improve the aesthetics of your smile but also help maintain the integrity and alignment of neighboring teeth.
5. Use retainers
After completing orthodontic treatment, wearing retainers as prescribed by your orthodontist is essential. “Retainers help maintain the alignment achieved through orthodontic intervention and prevent the gap from reappearing,” says Dr Dehane. Consistency in retainer use is crucial to ensure long-term success in preserving the desired tooth alignment.
It is important to remember that every individual’s oral health is unique. Consulting with a dentist or orthodontist will provide personalized advice.