When thinking about tips on how to live longer, most people would never include dental appointments. Enjoying life longer and knowing how to live healthier are related. Of course, you want and need both to live a more satisfying life in your senior years.
Avoiding the dentist’s chair may not be done deliberately, but plenty of people place dental care near the bottom of their list of things to do for living longer. If you are one of them, this article will give you greater incentive to go more often.
Dental Conditions Can Shorten Your Longevity
Dentists report that there are two dental conditions may shorten your longevity. The first one is missing teeth: how many teeth you are missing is a rough indicator of how long you will live.
Missing Teeth Can Prevent Living Longer
Research has shown that the more missing teeth you have, the shorter your life will be. Fewer teeth indicate a higher risk of mortality – possibly because your oral hygiene habits could be better. The risk is twice as high for someone that does not practice the basics – daily teeth brushing, regular dental visits, and wearing dentures when teeth are lost.
The solution to missing teeth is to replace them as soon as you can. Bone loss can take place quickly, with as much as 25% of jaw bone height under the missing tooth taking place in the first year. Teeth can be replaced with dentures, partial dentures, or dental implants. Dental implants will be the most natural and strongest option – but it is also the most costly.
Gum Disease Can Reduce Your Lifespan
The second aspect of having a shorter life because of a lack of dental visits involves gum disease. Most Americans are unaware of how to identify it, yet at least half of adults over 30 have the more serious form of it – periodontal disease.
Gum disease has two stages – gingivitis and periodontitis. You can identify the symptoms of gingivitis by the bleeding of your gums when you brush your teeth. They will also be slightly inflamed, and you will probably notice that your gums have started to recede. This milder form of gum disease can usually be eradicated by brushing twice a day and flossing.
The second type of gum disease is periodontitis. This is a more serious form that – if not treated soon enough – can cause you to lose your teeth. At this stage, the bacteria that cause gum disease not only attack your teeth and gums by the acid they produce, but they also start disintegrating your jaw bone and the structures that hold your teeth in place. By this time, the bacteria have formed colonies in the tartar that lies under your gums and you cannot remove it yourself.
Inflammation Is Behind the Formation of Many Diseases
The main reason periodontitis is a major health concern that will shorten your life, is that your immune system reacts to the bacteria in your gums. This reaction produces inflammation, which, at this stage, is now traveling throughout your body. It has access to your bloodstream through your gums. Inflammation is now believed to be behind the formation of over 100 diseases – several of them are fatal, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and many more.
While you seek to live longer and enjoy good health, do not overlook daily habits of keeping your teeth clean and making regular dental appointments – two per year. Once at the office, the dentist can also ensure that you do not have some form of oral cancer – which can reduce longevity quickly.