Are your teeth making you look older? 5 tips to anti-age your smile

Think of eternally youthful celebrities (JLo, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, we’re looking at you) and you’ll find they all have something in common.

Not just amazing careers, killer bodies and glowing skin – they all have bright, white smiles and their perfect pearly teeth are key to their forever young appearances.

Of course, A-listers likely have a helping hand in the looks department with facialists and aesthetic doctors on speed dial, but their full, flawless smiles keep them looking young too.

Jlo smiling at a premiere© Getty
JLo’s perfect smile keeps her looking young

Failing to look after our teeth is a surefire way to add years to your age, confirms top dentist Dr. Rhona Eskander of Chelsea Dental Clinic, who shares: “A smile can make us look older due to several factors such as tooth discolouration, erosion, and shifting.

“Over time, our teeth naturally darken from food, drink, or tobacco, which can give a more aged appearance. Additionally, enamel erosion from acidic foods, grinding, or natural ageing thins the teeth, making them look shorter and the smile less vibrant.”

Our moving teeth can make us look older too, as Dr. Rhona adds: “Teeth may shift with age, leading to gaps or misalignment that were not there before, which can contribute to an older appearance.”

In our quest for a fresh look, Dr. Rhona has seen an uptick in patients seeking dental treatment to achieve a more youthful appearance. “This trend is driven by a growing awareness of how dental health impacts overall aesthetics and by advances in dental technology that offer more natural and appealing treatment options,” she says.

woman posing in a jumpsuit
Dr. Rhona Eskander

Dr. Rhona isn’t alone in seeing more clients booking in for teeth treatments to preserve their youth. Dr. Sam Jethwa of Bespoke Smile has also seen an increase in people seeking cosmetic dentistry as an anti-ageing method.

Here, he and Dr. Rhona share the teeth troubles that can add years to our age, and the dental treatments available to rejuvenate our smiles and achieve a fresher, more youthful appearance. “These treatments can significantly enhance a smile, making it look fresher and more vibrant, which in turn can reflect a more youthful appearance overall,” Dr. Rhona confirms.

The issue: Discolouration

A sparkling smile is high on many of our wish lists, with research from Oral B revealing that white teeth can not only make you look five years younger but increase your attractiveness by 20%.

Dr. Sam explains that as we age, our enamel becomes thinner which makes our teeth more susceptible to staining, which ages our smile.

Man in black jacket and top smiling for the camera© SHOT BY REZAKIO
Dr. Sam Jethwa

Solution: Teeth whitening

“Teeth whitening will combat discolouration and restore a bright, youthful smile,” says Dr. Rhona, who offers in-clinic whitening with Philips Zoom and at-home options too, with Boutique Whitening.

Dr. Sam explains at-home whitening, sharing: “We provide custom-made trays which slot into your mouth (like a mouthguard) with gel in the bottom to ensure the formula sits nicely against your teeth. These trays can be used in future for you to top up your whitening if you need to. The trays are a very important part of this process and the quality of the fitting can affect the result hugely.”

READ: Why my smile makeover changed more than just my teeth 

The issue: Smile structure

“Collagen is necessary for keeping our skin plump and firm. As we age, our collagen levels begin to deplete, and this can result in a sagging face, which has a surprising impact on our smile,” explains Dr. Sam.

“For some people, a loss of collagen can cause the corners of the mouth to droop and the lower portion of the face to sag, which can cause the lower teeth to become more visible.

“A youthful smile is typically wider and displays more of the upper teeth than the lower.”

Julia Roberts attends the 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on January 15, 2023 in Los Angeles, California© Axelle/Bauer-Griffin
Julia Roberts is famed for her wide, youthful smile

As he says, a wide smile is considered the gold standard for a youthful grin – think Julia Roberts and Margot Robbie, and you’ll be along the right lines. Apparently, showing at least eight – preferably ten – upper teeth creates the most appealing and youthful smile, referred to as full buccal corridors.

As we age, our upper lip also gets longer, meaning less of our top teeth are on show which can make us look older, so by broadening the smile, the upper lip is supported, for a youthful look.

LOOK: Celebrity teeth transformations: Dramatic before-and-after photos – Kanye West, Demi Moore, Nicole Kidman, more 

The solution: Tooth adjustments 

“Adjusting the width of the buccal corridors (the space visible between the cheeks and teeth when smiling) can help balance the smile and contribute to a younger look,” says Dr. Rhona, with composite bonding and Invisalign options for addressing this. Composite bonding is instant, while Invisalign is more of a long game.

“Invisalign will address a narrow smile by moving crowded or crooked teeth outwards, allowing the smile to appear wider,” confirms Dr. Sam. “Invisalign can also work to reshape your jawline, and if there is an overbite, Invisalign can close this, allowing the top teeth to sit comfortably on the bottom teeth.

“Realigning the teeth and changing the way they sit can enhance a person’s facial features, such as the cheeks, lips and jaw.”

DISCOVER: What has Kate Middleton done to her teeth? A top dentist reveals all- see transformation 

The issue: Gum disease

Pink gums that perfectly fit around the teeth are a key component of a youthful smile. However, the gums can recede which exposes the root of the tooth and causes the tooth to appear longer than it is, Dr. Sam explains. “Gum recession is most common in adults over 40.

“Receding gums are often regarded as ageing. Gingival recession can be caused by periodontal disease which is a bacterial infection of the gum tissue, but more often it is caused by brushing teeth too hard, improper flossing, tobacco use, as well as abnormal tooth position.”

MORE: Miley Cyrus smile makeover: what has she done to her teeth? Dentists explain 

Solution: Aesthetic gum treatments

“Anti-ageing gum treatments, such as gum contouring or grafts, address receding gums, a common sign of ageing in dental health,” confirms Dr. Rhona.

Explaining gum grafting, Dr. Sam elaborates: “The process involves taking gum from synthetic material or elsewhere in the mouth and then stitching it into the gums. It’s something that I prescribe a lot of to patients who wish to address receding gums and make teeth look younger.

“I have noticed an increase in demand for gum tweakments,” he says. “Gums and a beautiful smile go hand in hand, cosmetic dentistry is as much about the gums as it is the teeth.”

The issue: tired teeth

“When we get older, our teeth have done a lot more work so it stands to reason that they start to become more worn down, and may also appear shorter and flatter,” says Dr. Sam.

Solution: Composite bonding and veneers

“The perfect way to address worn-down teeth is with ultra-thin veneers,” says Dr. Sam. “These can be applied in a matter of minutes, they’re colour-matched perfectly to the rest of your teeth and not only help to make teeth look younger but also prevent the inside layers of teeth being exposed to bacteria and decay.

“Veneers work to change the shape and structure of the teeth, which will significantly alter the appearance of the face, allowing it to appear less ‘sunken’, which can happen with age,” he continues.

LOOK: Taylor Swift’s teeth transformation in before-and-after photos spark debate – see here

Another option to create a smoother smile is composite bonding. Dr Sam explains: “Composite bonding is incredibly subtle and can enhance the shape of the tooth and create a neater smile. This technique is non-invasive and involves the application of a tooth-coloured composite resin to the surface of the tooth, which is then shaped and polished. 

“This can correct chips, cracks, gaps and discolouration and protect exposed tooth roots. Due to wear and tear and teeth grinding, the edges of the teeth can become jagged, composite bonding can correct this and they will appear smooth again.

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