Age-related morphological, histological and functional changes in teeth

J Oral Rehabil. 2017 Apr;44(4):291-298. doi: 10.1111/joor.12474. Epub 2017 Jan 28.


Throughout lifetime, the teeth are continuously exposed to numerous chemical and physical impacts, which cause the wear of the dental hard tissues, gingival recession and other oral changes with sometimes subsequent problems. Age-related wear of tooth surfaces reduces the dental enamel thickness and exposes deeper layers of enamel, which have different physical and chemical properties than the surface enamel. Gingival recession is the main causal factor of root caries and dentine hypersensitivity. Age-related changes in dentine include the formation of secondary dentine and the reduction in tubular lumen diameter (dentine sclerosis), which lead to a reduction in the volume of the pulp chamber. In addition to the reduction in the volume of pulp chamber, changes to the dental pulp also include dental pulp calcifications. The age-related physiological changes to the teeth should be carefully distinguished from pathological changes, especially when they induce pain or a negative impact on the oral health-related quality of life (OHRQoL) of the older individuals. Therefore, regular oral examinations coupled with early preventive measures should aim at maintaining oral health until old age.

Keywords: aged; ageing; dental pulp calcification; dentine sensitivity; root caries; tooth.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Dental Enamel / pathology
  • Dental Pulp / anatomy & histology
  • Dental Pulp / pathology
  • Dental Pulp / physiology
  • Dental Pulp / physiopathology
  • Dental Pulp Calcification / pathology
  • Dental Pulp Exposure / pathology
  • Dental Pulp Exposure / physiopathology
  • Dentin Sensitivity / pathology
  • Dentin Sensitivity / physiopathology
  • Gingival Recession / pathology
  • Humans
  • Tooth / anatomy & histology*
  • Tooth / pathology
  • Tooth / physiology*
  • Tooth / physiopathology