We're all taught from a very young age to brush our teeth, and if you maintain this routine through your life brushing twice a day and flossing as well, visiting the dental hygienist and the dentist at regular intervals and trying to eat a low sugar diet, you will give your teeth the best chance of ageing naturally, with you.
When these things are neglected you can be opening the door to serious dental decay and gum disease that will often result in teeth falling out or having to be taken out.
A lot of research has been done into issues surrounding dental health and one piece of research has linked the number of teeth we retain into old age with the length of time we are likely to live. The study found that people with 20 or more teeth when they were 70 years of age generally lived longer than those who reached 70 with fewer teeth. It is true to say that losing teeth through gum disease or dental decay is almost always preventable and if you follow a good oral health routine, every day, you can give yourself the best chance of holding on to your teeth well into old age.
Oral disease can spread
If gum disease sets up in our mouths the bacteria from that can easily pass into our blood stream. A protein will then cause the blood to thicken and leaves you more at risk of a heart attack as the heart does not get the nutrients and oxygen required and a blood clot eventually reaches the heart and stops it. By the same mechanism the effects of gum disease can also leave somebody at greater risk of having a stroke. There has also been a link between gum disease and diabetes.
Cancer and dementia have also been linked to gum disease
If you keep your gums and teeth healthy there are some cancers especially in women, that appear to reduce in incidence. With gum disease there is also a greater risk of developing dementia. A study of 65 thousand women who were post-menopausal and were between the ages of 53 an 87 found that those who had a history of suffering from gum disease where around 15% more likely to go on to develop certain forms of cancer. One in three of the women developed breast cancer while a significant increase in lung cancers was seen as well as cancers of the gall bladder the oesophagus and skin cancers.
In contrast, those women who had healthy teeth and gums appeared to be 70% less likely to suffer from Alzheimer's disease than the women who had long standing problems with gum disease.
Gum disease and foetal development
Another study found that women who were pregnant and who did not suffer from gum disease were less likely to have babies prematurely and that their babies generally had a better birth weight. The research says that women with gum disease had a one in four chance of giving birth before 35 weeks of pregnancy. This is thought to be because there are chemicals produced in the process of gum disease, that can bring on labour.
Avoiding bad breath
When you keep your teeth healthy and clean it will go a long way towards preventing halitosis or bad breath which is caused, often, by a build-up of plaque when teeth are not cleaned efficiently enough. This is a symptom of tooth decay and of gum disease and can also be extremely embarrassing.
Stained teeth is another embarrassing condition and some of it is unavoidable with wear and tear. However, smoking and drinking coffee tea and red wine will exacerbate this problem. Having stained teeth is not in itself threatening to teeth but will certainly make you feel self-conscious.
Regular visits to the hygienist as well as brushing and flossing and even tooth whitening can help with this.
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