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Life Expectancy Linked to Number of Teeth & Oral Health

3 Mins read
  • There is a surprising link between your number of teeth and your life expectancy and overall health.

New studies have concluded that gum infections and periodontal disease results in a 12% higher likelihood of premature death of any cause. Additionally, there is a 17% higher chance when it comes to the loss of natural teeth. In other words, there seems to be a correlation between the number of teeth a person has and life expectancy.

The results also indicate that participants who had more than 20 teeth at 70 years old had a much higher chance of a prolonged life expectancy than participants who had less than 20 teeth at the same age. This points to the conclusion that oral health has consistently been a safe marker when it comes to the assessments of overall health.

It is a well-documented fact that oral health and hygiene play a role in overall health.  For example, gum disease has been consistently associated with a variety of general health issues which include strokes, diabetes, heart disease, heart attacks, dementia, and complications in pregnant women.

We spoke to family dentist Dr. Lange who explained that it is easy to prevent many oral health diseases like gum disease. This is because they are due to oral hygiene habits like neglecting your teeth by failing to floss and brush after meals. If you take good care of your teeth you will have improved oral health but overall health as well.

Many people believe that because they have neglected their teeth in the past and have a lower level of dental hygiene, that it is too late for them to remedy the situation. But this is simply not true. Even though it is a good idea to keep your teeth clean, it is not necessarily too late to take care of them. If you begin to implement positive changes now you can greatly reduce the likelihood of serious health complications for your mouth and your entire body. This is an effective way to increase your life expectancy as well as the quality of life.

You can implement simple measures such as brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing your teeth at least twice per day and especially before bed.  You should also attempt to reduce the number of sugary drinks you consume as they can wreak havoc on your teeth. Visiting your dentist regularly can also help greatly because you can benefit from this expertise to take care of your teeth and improve your smile.

Heart disease can have a serious effect on your health. In recent years, there has been more evidence revealed that shows a link between gum disease and heart disease. The bacteria found in gum disease can travel throughout the body and cause inflammation of the heart vessels. Because of this inflammation, the heart valves could be affected as they begin to develop an infection. The CDC concluded that half of the American adults over the age of 30 have some type of gum disease.

It’s important to note that all of these studies show a correlation, it can’t be taken as conclusive evidence as there can be a third variable that is affecting the life expectancy of individuals. So, it may not be just the fact that someone has gum disease, but because they have gum disease and practice some sort of other behaviour that would reduce life expectancy. 

For example, smoking is a common risk factor for both low life expectancy and low oral health. Therefore, we can look at issues such as lack of exercise and reduced access to healthcare as part of our assessment. A person’s age also plays a big role in the susceptibility of heart disease and gum disease.

The fact that gum disease can be prevented is great news for anyone who would like to improve their overall health. You can simply do this by fulfilling proper oral hygiene habits to prevent oral health problems. It is better to do this in addition to executing your overall health practices such as exercising, eating right, and not smoking. 

It’s a good habit to have regular dental cleanings performed as a part of your routine even if you are not at risk for any disease. Also, ensure that you change your toothbrush regularly and attend dental check-ups. 

Many times, when it comes to our health, we don’t know that a problem exists until it is too late to stop it. Oral health problems often fester silently and are only uncovered when a problem arises and by then it may be too late. This is why regular checkups with your dentist it’s a great way to maintain oral health and by extension improve overall health. 

Whether you are young or elderly, the importance of proper dental care can’t be exaggerated. We should all strive for a good oral health routine to take care of our teeth and gums. As more studies come out highlighting the link between life expectancy and oral hygiene, we should do our best to take care of our oral health as this could increase our life expectancy.

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