With all the challenges of dealing with COVID, it’s easy to overlook how important it is to keep your teeth and gums in good condition.
Evolution equipped us to live for around two generations. Medical science addresses causes of deterioration in order to extend this.
Managing your oral health can make a difference to longevity. Studies show links between longevity and the number of remaining teeth, their condition and the condition of gums and mouth.
What’s involved here?
With age our functional abilities may decline, and we can become less able to manage our oral health needs and access oral health services.
Oral health problems can lead to eating difficulties, raising diet-related issues in turn affecting quality of life and longevity.
There are more people living to over 100. There is some evidence they take more care of their teeth than other older dental patients, even if they need more help to do so.
The evidence of a relationship between oral health, quality of life and longevity is compelling.
Specific conditions affecting oral health
Diabetes is on the rise and its treatment is often associated with oral health problems.
Oral bacteria may be involved in some cardiovascular problems. Recent research suggests they may be also involved in the onset of Alzheimer's disease, rheumatoid arthritis and aspiration pneumonia.
What to do?
Regular brushing and flossing and at least annual dentist visits are recurring advice.
Prevention is more effective (and less painful and expensive!) than cure, so rather than just relying on fixes from your dental professionals, enlist their help to develop and supervise your own oral health program.
A visit here will also help you identify actions you can focus on with them.
Take more control
You can take more control over your oral health by incorporating it into your Longevity Plan.
If you are already a Subscriber, add an update reminder into the Health section of your immediate actions to schedule a regular review.
Before your next dentist visit, check the suggestions in the Introductions tab to explain to your health professional how long you are planning for. Ask them for an oral health program just for you, to keep your teeth and gums in better shape through the rest of your life. At each check-up, ask for some feedback on how your own efforts are going and whether you should change your focus on aspects of your day-to-day management.
Dentists we spoke with were keen to provide this service. They followed up enthusiastically at the next visit – it’s more fun to have clients who approach them positively rather than in fear!