Living Long and Prospering
How a Healthy Smile is Worth the Attention Long Term
You need more than diet and exercise to live a long and healthy life. Believe it or not, dental hygiene is one of the most important factors for longevity. Did you know that, before modern medicine, a common cause of death was a tooth abscess? It’s true. Here’s how to keep those choppers clean and healthy so you can live long, and prosper.
One of the best preventative measures you can take is to brush and floss regularly. Flossing is especially important as it removes food particles and plaque from between your teeth. Twice a day is all you need. Plus, you don’t have to necessarily use a lot of toothpaste, or any at all. In one study, brushing with hot water was enough to remove plaque – more than brushing with toothpaste.
Get Regular Cleanings
A poll of 289 general dentists and consumers confirmed a long-standing stereotype that men are less likely to visit the dentist than females. This, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, is why men are at a greater risk for oral health problems.
Nearly 45 percent of respondents felt that men just don’t need to go to the dentist, and about 30 percent of those polled said that they’re afraid or too embarrassed to go. That’s silly, and it could mean your life.
You see, when plaque builds up on the gum line, it causes the gym to separate from the tooth. What’s the big deal with that? Well, once this happens, your teeth loosen up. Not only that, bacteria can then make their way into your bloodstream where they can do real damage. What kind of damage? They interact with the immune system, and cause clotting factors to be released. These clotting factors can cause, you guessed it, a heart attack. Suck it up and go to the dentist.
30 minutes isn’t work a premature death.
Stop Eating Foods Damaging To Your Teeth
You’ve heard it all before – sugary foods are bad for your teeth. Eating sugary foods can destroy your tooth’s ability to fight off bacteria. How? Bacteria feed off sugar and starch. When they eat it, they expel acid as a byproduct. This acid then erodes tooth enamel, and can kickstart the process of gum disease. Kick the habit, and make radical changes to your diet. It’ll be hard, but which would you rather have: a mouth full of teeth or a mouth full of candy?
Some medications can cause dry mouth. Talk to your doctor about any meds you’re on. What’s wrong with dry mouth? Dry mouth can kick up acid production because there’s a reduced saliva flow to wash away bad bacteria. Once this happens, gum disease is on the horizon.
Smokers have notoriously bad teeth. But, if you chew tobacco, you actually have a greater risk for gum disease than smokers. You also have an increased risk for oral cancer. And, men are at twice the risk than women, with 95 percent of oral cancers occurring after age 40.
Robert Ander is a people person with a passion for healthy smiles. As a retired dentist, he especially enjoys writing about oral hygiene in everyday life. Click on the NYFamilypediatricdentistry.com site for more dental health ideas.