by David Schell
That perfectly white smile is something many of us strive for, but new evidence shows the benefits of a healthy mouth goes beyond aesthetics - it can also help you live longer!
Researchers looked at data from more than 57,000 women aged at least 55 years old over a seven year period. They found that gum disease was linked to a 12% higher risk of death from any cause and rose to 17% in women who had lost all of their natural teeth.
Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammation of the gums and bone that surround and support the teeth. Nearly half of adults in the U.S. over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease, such as gingivitis.
Similar to screening for diabetes or high cholesterol, these findings suggest older women “may benefits from more intensive oral screening measures,” said Michael J. LaMonte, Ph.D., M.P.H., study author and research associate professor in epidemiology and environmental health at the University at Buffalo in New York.
But don’t stress. Just because you’re having tooth troubles doesn’t mean there’s a heart attack headed your way. Dr Pooneh Ramezani, a practicing dentist for more than 20 years and Dr. Brite co-founder, recommends visiting a dentist if you notice any of the symptoms below to reduce the risk of developing gum disease.
Signs of Gum Disease
- Bad breath or bad taste that won't go away
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
- Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Any change in the fit of partial dentures
How to Prevent Gum Disease
Gingivitis can be prevented (and treated in its early stages) with good oral hygiene and regular professional cleaning. Here are some lifestyle tips to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy!
- Brush your teeth. Twice a day for two minutes each time and don't forget to brush along the gumline and your tongue too.
- Rinse after meals. Swishing with an alcohol-free mouthwash or water after eating can help reduce plaque buildup and remove any remaining food particles.
- Floss everyday. Flossing at least once a day helps remove food particles between the teeth that your toothbrush can’t reach.
Eat a healthy diet. Consume a well-balanced diet that’s low in starchy and sugary foods but high in necessary nutrients like vitamin C.
- Visit the dentist. Every six months see your dental professional for a check up and teeth cleaning. Contact them immediately if you have any gum disease symptoms.
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