s of Medicine
The Way We Age Now
Medicine has increased the ranks of the elderly.Can it make old age any easier?
by Atul Gawande
April 30, 2007

he hardestsubstance in the human body is the white enamel of the teeth. With age, it wears awaynonetheless, allowing the softer, darker layers underneath to show through. Meanwhile, theblood supply to the pulp and the roots of the teeth atrophies, and the flow of salivadiminishes; the gums tend to become inflamed and pull away from the teeth, exposing thebase, making them unstable and elongating their appearance, especially the lower ones.Experts say they can gauge a person’s age to within five years from the examination of asingle tooth—if the person has any teeth left to examine.

Scrupulous dental care canhelp avert tooth loss, but growing old gets in the way. Arthritis, tremors, and small [continua]

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