Letting your teeth and gums deteriorate can have wider health implications. In Andrew Steele’s recently published book, Ageless, which we highly recommend, he discusses that your dental health can have an affect on your lifespan as well as your risk of dementia.

Your smile and how it can affect your lifespan

 

Most of us can err on the side of apathy when it comes to brushing our teeth, flossing and eating less sugary foods. My dentist once told me, just floss the teeth you want to keep!

 

Letting your teeth and gums deteriorate can have wider health implications. In Andrew Steele’s recently published book, Ageless, which we highly recommend, he discusses that your dental health can have an affect on your lifespan as well as your risk of dementia. Reseach in the 80’s and 90’s showed that people with tooth decay and gum problems were more likely to develop heart disease as they got older. It was thought there could be a correlation between people with less money having less time and money to spend taking care of their teeth and those who were wealthier taking more care overall of their health. The conclusion was that people who brushed twice a day were at a lower risk of heart attack than those who brushed only once. Also more frequent brushers had less inflammation.

 

In addition (bad) bacteria in the mouth can also have an effect on diabetes. We are learning that chronic inflammation, leading to some of the ‘older age’ diseases links the gut with the mouth. An article in the Economist this week details the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) which included sessions on the links between microbes in mouths, the intestines and chronic disease. Dr Chapple who was head of dentistry at Birmingham University chaired thee discussions around the connection between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis. RA involves the immune system attacking the body’s joints. The theory describes bacteria hitchhiking a ride from the mouth to the rest of the body via an enormous supply of blood vessels. In addition high glucose levels disrupt the body’s inflammatory system leading to many complications including gum disease. A potentially life changing link between gum health and Alzheimers will be thoroughly tested in a trial that will take place at the end of next year.

 

So, as we are all constantly being told by our dentists, keep brushing your teeth twice a day and don’t forget to floss between them for a longer and healthier life and to look your age. Smile wide and bright!