Have you ever heard the expression “long in the tooth.” This phrase is used to describe older people, but why? Centuries ago the connection between teeth and old age likely made more sense to the common person since horses can often be quickly aged by looking their teeth.

Horses’ teeth tend to actually gain length with age. Additionally, their gum lines often recede into late adulthood. You can informally measure a horse’s age by measuring how long its teeth are.long in the tooth

A longer tooth would indicate an older horse. Merchants would examine horse teeth before formalizing a purchase, to avoid buying an animal that was too old to do the work of pulling a carriage or plowing a field.

Have you ever noticed how long some people’s teeth are? As humans age, it is not uncommon for some bone loss to occur and subsequently recession of the gums to follow.

Swollen gums indicate inflammation and this can lead to bone loss. In some adults, the bone loss has been so severe that the root surfaces of the teeth have been exposed, giving them the appearance of long teeth.

You can avoid this scenario, and limit bone loss and recession, with a simple oral hygiene regimen. Brushing after breakfast and flossing and brushing before bed is a good routine for keeping the gums healthy.

If your gums bleed when you brush or floss, this can be an indication that you are at risk of bone loss. Certain medical conditions and medications can also be responsible for bleeding gums, so consult your dentist to determine the cause of the inflammation. You can’t stop the clock, but you don’t have to show your age!

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