I heard recently that flossing your teeth can extend your life by three years. I found this fact absolutely mind blowing. We learn in medicine that patients with gum disease are at risk for lung infections and getting things stuck in your throat from poor chewing, but I had no idea that developing good daily oral hygiene habits means that you can actually live longer.
Studies are coming out every day linking gum inflammation disease and our health. Traditionally, patients with gum disease are at higher risk for certain infections and illnesses like pneumonia. In one study 1,200 veterans were followed for 35 years. The veterans with moderate to severe gum disease had a significantly higher rate of heart disease or strokes. Gum disease has also shown to make an existing diabetes more difficult to control, worsen an existing case of diabetes or put you at risk for complications related to the disease. Last but not least, women with gum disease are more prone to having a premature baby and have a baby with low birth weight.
Because our oral health is an early warning sign to other conditions, and there is a direct link between our oral health and our immune system, you’ll want to watch out for:
- – Swollen gums
- – Bleeding gums (bleeding after brushing)
- – Bright red or red-purple gums
- – Mouth sores
- – Bad breath
- – Tender gums
- – Shiny appearance to gums
I don’t pretend to be a dental specialist but here are some general recommendations:
- – Brush your teeth daily
- – Floss daily
- – Eat a diet low in carbohydrate
- – Avoid tobacco products
- – Visit your dentist regularly
- – Inspect you gums on a regular basis
- – Check for gum inflammation
This reinforces my belief that not only can it be easy to live longer, but that making minor changes in your daily life can go a long way to achieving true health.